DESTROYER – Review by Susan Granger

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

Beautiful, statuesque Nicole Kidman continues to demonstrate her fearless versatility, playing a distraught mother in Boy Erased and the ethereally shimmering Queen in Aquaman before tackling Erin Bell, the boozing, brawling LAPD detective seeking revenge and redemption in this pulpy noir thriller.

Erin Bell’s life was devastated by the bank-robbing gang that she and her partner Chris (Sebastian Stan) tried to infiltrate in a botched undercover operation 17 years ago. Now the slippery gang leader, Silas (Toby Kebbell), is back in town, and Erin is relentlessly determined to track him down.

At the same time, Bell, a neglectful mother, is aggressively trying to deal with her rebellious, estranged teenage daughter Erin (Jade Pettyjohn), who has hooked up with a sleazy loser (Beau Knapp) and seems to be headed down the same toxic path that Bell followed, leading to her downfall.

Obtusely scripted as a gritty “woman against herself” story by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, it’s boldly directed by Karyn Kusama (“Girlfight”), working with cinematographer Julie Kirkwood and production designer Kay Lee.

Barely recognizable, Nicole Kidman wears a dark shag wig, along with prosthetics that alter her nose and bone structure, as she did previously when she played 20th century author Virginia Woolf in The Hours (2002).

“It’s a rare thrill to work with artists who walk along the razor’s edge of their own unconscious, even as they run the risk of uncovering something icky,” notes Kusama. “Nicole was that risk-taker every day that we worked together, willing to make mistakes, willing to laugh at herself and endlessly open to experimentation…Even when she told me she was terrified of the work we were doing, she never actually seemed afraid. If I had to walk through a haunted house, hers is a hand I’d welcome in my own.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, Destroyer is a sneaky, suspenseful 6, filled with grimly blunt brutality.

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 0 Flares ×

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.