The telling of a good noir can be a work of art, when done poorly, they fade into the neon night, and when they are done well, they are hard to forget. While these films dominated the movie landscape at one time, now they are just spots in a world where other genres rule. Hearing that Karyn Kusama (The Invitation) and the writers behind that film, Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi were stepping into this timeless genre, they definitely had my full attention with Destroyer.
Detective Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) carries around a lot of baggage from her life on the force. It seems some time ago she was undercover in a gang lead by a man named Silas (Toby Kebbell), as the police thought there were up to something big. She wasn’t alone though, she had an F.B.I. agent with her named Chris (Sebastian Stan), who through the operation had become more than just partners. When the big job finally comes, Chris and Erin come to a crossroads and the decision they make turns tragic. Many years later Erin is walking like a zombie through life, her daughter wants nothing to do with her and when she is sober she is a shell of a human being. That changes when a body is found and clues that lead to her past undercover assignment. Erin goes out on her own, where she tracks down old associates in hopes they can lead her to the one guy she wants to find, Silas. That road is not going to be easy and it forces Erin to confront both her past as well as her future, as she do whatever is needed to get her man.
It takes only a few minutes to realize this is not typical Nicole Kidman movie. Gone is the glamor and beauty she always exudes and it is instead replaced with what looks like someone who stole her name. While her look may be that of weakness, her performance is nothing like that, as she gives one of the strongest of her career. Kidman is not the only high point in this movie, the story by Hay and Manfredi follows the noir movie path with their own twists and turns that will keep you guessing which way the movie will fall on its characters. All of it is put to together brilliantly by Kusama, who continues to show that she is one the better directors out there, which makes me glad she didn’t make us wait the usual time between films. I really dug Destroyer, but then again I am a sucker for a good noir, but while I showed up for the mood and tone it displays, it became all about how good Kidman is. This film is something that begs to be seen as is anything really done by Kusama, so don’t miss this one, it is without a doubt sure to be a classic.