The scorching sun beats down on the city of L.A. as a dead body turns up in an aqueduct. And yet, the cop who shows up to work the case looks like the corpse. In her new picture, Destroyer, director Karyn Kusama takes one of Hollywood’s most glamourous stars and transforms her into a worn-out cop looking to settle one last score. Destroyer is a pulse-pounding thriller with a tight script, intense performances, and an electrifying score.
Nicole Kidman plays Erin Bell, a burnt-out detective working a homicide case connected to her past. The film flashes back over a decade to when she and her partner went undercover to take down a gang of thieves and their psychopathic leader, Silas (Toby Kebbell). The movie jumps back and forth in time before you get a handle on what went down; it’s a delicious tease that keeps viewers hungry for more plot.
Destroyer features one of the year’s best scores. It rolls into scenes like a brooding stormcloud and then rattles your soul. It’s dark, moody, and adds weight to Kusama’s deliberate pacing. Kusama knows how to create tension and parts of her film feel as anxiety-inducing as any horror movie.
Destroyer isn’t a movie for people with short attention spans. It’s a slow burn character study packaged in a crime flick and not a crime flick with some great writing. If you don’t expect this movie to come out of the gates with its guns blazing, then you’ll be just fine.