Taking on themes of motherhood and womanhood, Destroyer doesn’t hide in fear
Features made prominent by an actor drastically changing their look are often forgotten about as films in their own right. The feature becomes the character, for better or worse, but it absolutely takes the top layer of scrutiny from the picture, and places it squarely on the shoulders of the actor. Nicole Kidman, the face changing star of Destroyer, has taken the task upon herself, offering a completely new take on her own brand of acting, whilst holding up almost all of Destroyer alone and surviving the ordeal valiantly.
Detective Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) is called to a crime scene, immediately proclaiming she knows the identity of the murderer. As clues begin to surface, Bell’s past reveals itself, uncovering more memories than she would have perhaps cared to dwell upon.
The post-credits conversation will always be Kidman’s performance, and her dogged attitude as the stubborn detective Erin Bell is simply astonishing. Kidman notes herself how this performance needed her to approach to the role with a method style, and that comes across in its brash and commanding nature. Kidman is certainly bigger than the film, and that partially comes from the story being so reliant on her befitting an all-encompassing and all-commanding character.
That isn’t to suggest that the film lacks moments of vigour and power, but with Kidman in essentially every scene, there is almost no room for anything else to take its firm grip on Destroyer’s impact. It’s part of a purposeful decision, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a risky one.
With wonderfully gritty cinematography, and a sun-blasted varnish coated across the feature, Destroyer in an absolute mood piece, and works with its indecisive character vision throughout. Taking on themes of motherhood and womanhood, Destroyer doesn’t hide in fear, becoming a conclusive look at the life of a troubled woman. It’s a tough film to love, but for all of the right reasons.
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