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Destroyer  (DVD)


Stars: Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Sebastian Stan, Tatiana Maslany, Scoot McNairy, Bradley Whitford, Jade Pettyjohn

Director: Karyn Kusama

As down-and-grungy as they come, this is a modern film noir featuring a totally deglamorised Kidman as Erin Bell, an alcoholic veteran cop with a rebellious teenage daughter (Pettyjohn) and a guilty secret in the past.

The story opens with an unidentified body being found on the streets of Washington. Bell, now a sad, drained wreck, tells attending police that she knows who did it.

We then go into a series of flashbacks, some recent, some nearly 20 years earlier when Bell and Chris (Stan) are assigned to go undercover with a gang led by the long-haired, dusky Silas (Kebbell), who are suspected of planning a major robbery.

Kidman, looking like a ghost of her normal self in the present-day scenes, delivers a seriously good performance as her character gets beaten to a pulp several times in her pursuit of Silas, who seems to have re-emerged after years in hiding.

The back-and-forth nature of the plot may confuse some, although by nature it's there to keep the audience somewhat in the dark. A scene in which Bell extracts information from a dying gang member by performing a sex act on him seems there for dark web sensation-seekers rather than any furtherance of the plot.

David Quinlan

USA 2018. UK Distributor: LioinsGate. Colour.
115 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 18 Jun 2019