15th October 2018 12.00pm at Vue West End
15th October 2018 12.30pm at Vue West End
20th October 2018 8.45pm at Ciné Lumière
We all know Nicole Kidman as the stunning Hollywood movie star that she is, taking up lead roles in such films as Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut, Australia and Lion to name a few. Well this time, be prepared for a very different woman. A character like none we have ever witnessed her portray before. Destroyer is the newest film from director Karyn Kusama, previously known for her work on episodes of The Man in the High Castle and the feature The Invitation, and takes on the form of a modern LA noir crime picture. But, particularly for Kidman, the movie takes on much deeper layers than its shell suggests.
Jumping between two different timelines, Destroyer is based upon the work and life of Erin Bell (Kidman), a police detective who in the present day is clearly suffering with a lot of problems in her life. Seeming to be about a murder case, the film is an investigation into the crime, but also the person that Bell is and how she became this way. The protagonist’s striking and shocking look is evidently due to an event that has happened in her past, and the audience follows these incidents through a series of flashbacks involving a previous case where she worked alongside an undercover colleague by the name of Chris, played by Sebastian Stan. A case with a horrendous conclusion that has left Erin mentally scarred. Now, she must tackle these issues whilst also handling a contemptuous relationship with her daughter Shelby (Jade Pettyjohn), but exhuming such a toxic attitude makes Erin’s search for redemption all the more difficult for herself and those around her.
The hype around the release of this film has been formidable, with most reports and previews focusing mostly on the surprising appearance of Nicole Kidman – and it is true, it is alarming how different the costume and makeup team have made her look, but this is made even more effective by the clear investment the actress has made into the part, arguably more than ever before. It makes a refreshing change to see a character with so much power at the forefront of a noir picture, and the writing from Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay makes Erin a very complex character in an interesting web of themes.
The combination of grief, regret, family relationships and working life, all explored through time hopping, does make the story difficult to follow, especially as the movie reaches its climax. However, with that said, once audiences know the full plot of the film from start to finish, it will make a second viewing far more understandable, meaning Destroyer is most likely going to be a grower in the future.
If movie-fans are going watch Destoryer for Nicole Kidman, then they will be blown away by her work. If they want a racy gun-slinging detective thriller they will get that, but should be prepared to take a seat and invest full focus in order to follow what is a noir picture that becomes an investigation into human relationships and self-management.
Destroyer is released nationwide on 25th January 2019.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2018 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.