Destroyer

MA15 121 mins

About the film

Director: Karyn Kusama
Actors: Sebastian Stan, Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell
Yes, it’s Nicole Kidman, but not as we know her. Defying audience expectations, Kidman is bare and brutal in Karyn Kusama’s LA-set modern-day film noir, Destroyer. As promised, Kidman is terrific in the lead role as Erin Bell, an LAPD detective haunted by events long in the past.

The film takes place across two timeframes. The first takes place 17 years ago, with Erin as a fresh-faced FBI recruit who takes part in an undercover sting on a cult-like gang of bank robbers, along with her partner Chris (Sebastian Stan). The present-day action follows Erin as she seeks to prove that the charismatic leader of that gang, Silas (Toby Kebbell), has become active again, and put a stop to him once and for all.

Kusama sets her contemporary and gritty noir in a verité Los Angeles. Aided by Julie Kirkwood's arresting photography, she guides us through streets and neighbourhoods that feel as authentic as the complex, non-traditional characters that inhabit them (brilliantly portrayed by Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan, and Bradley Whitford, among others). Penned by screenwriting duo Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, Destroyer, like its central character, is at once tender and violent. And Kusama may be considered as renegade as her anti-hero, changing the landscape of cinema with the audacious choices she's made as a filmmaker. It's time to stop considering her bold; she's just awesome.

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