Critic Reviews



Based on 39 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
When Kusuma, Kidman and Destroyer finally kick it into high gear it’s so, so worth the wait.
Kidman has always been a chameleon, but in this case, she doesn’t merely change her color (or don a fake nose, à la “The Hours”); she disappears into an entirely new skin, rearranging her insides to fit the character’s tough hide.
The movie takes its time to provide a satisfying rationale, occasionally suffering from a sluggish pace and sleepy atmosphere that lessens the underlying mystery surrounding Erin’s mission, but Kidman imbues the material with continuous bite.
Director Karyn Kusama shifts dexterously between the present and the past, unspooling a satisfyingly twisted piece of storytelling by writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, who succeed in making both plots gripping. Kudos to Kidman for taking on an ugly role (both physically and morally) and for giving both versions of the character a convincing hardness.
Kidman gives one of her best performances, and Kusama keeps us interested even when we know what’s coming.
Between its structure, its worldview, and its anti-heroine, Destroyer is almost impossible to ignore. Love it or hate it, it will still leave an impression and it will undoubtedly inspire discussion.
Kidman, to her credit, goes all in, but it’s hard to ignore the neon sign over her head that keeps flashing “See? I’m Acting!”
As ambitious and sometimes unsettling as it is, the film, after crossing back and forth over the line many times, ultimately feels affected in its aspirations toward making some profound statement about self-abasement and sacrifice, making one feel like rejecting the whole thing despite some striking individual moments.
Buried in makeup that accentuates her character’s hard-luck existence, Nicole Kidman brings such compelling conviction to her role as a tormented detective that she single handedly imbues the film with urgency and authenticity. That proves crucial, since director Karyn Kusama often miscalculates Destroyer’s sense of its own profundity.
Kidman fearlessly commits to the filth of it all, whether it’s drunkenly fighting off her daughter’s sleazy boyfriend or jerking off a bed-ridden informant, but her radical transformation and some timeframe trickery can’t mask a plot that feels rather empty.

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