Karyn Kusama’s Destroyer is a scintillating piece of cinema featuring a jaw-dropping performance from Nicole Kidman. Audiences across the globe have never seen Kidman in this type of role, and I’m not sure they ever will again. Kusama brought out a side of Kidman few knew existed. Talented performers can bring out the best from any source material. There was something special about how Kidman navigated through this narrative. We weren’t witnessing a performer playing a role, Kidman morphed into a whole new person riddled with guilt and using any means to dull the voices from within. Seeing this reminded me of Charlize Theron in Monster. Performances like these are Oscar worthy. So where is the buzz? Why isn’t Kidman getting the type of Award Season press she deserves?
Unlike Monster, the supporting cast of Destroyer is in many ways forgettable. That’s not to say that their performances aren’t solid, it just didn’t elevate the film in the same way Kidman’s did. So if a movie blends in with some of the other releases, important moments (or in this case performances) become lost in the shuffle. It’s a shame because Destroyer is without question the best directorial job of Kusama’s career. Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi’s narrative was well constructed and stay focused on the moral dilemma which plagued Erin Bell (Kidman), can you be horrible just one time if it benefits the common good?
Julie Kirkwood’s cinematography was quite impressive especially during the various action sequences that take place during this tale. My favorite had to have been the one continuous shot she used to as she captured the gunfight at the bank being robbed. Kirkwood skillfully used closeup shots to capture the conflict these characters were going through. Theodore Shapiro’s score was haunting making it the perfect thread to weave throughout this narrative. However, the biggest reason to watch Destroyer is without question Kidman.
Overall, Destroyer might not be everyone’s radar, but it should very well be. Performances like these don’t come around very often, and they need to be seen.