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TIFF 2018 Review: Destroyer

Destroyer builds up the illusion of something more, but never delivers on that promise.

Bad Ass, devil may care Nicole Kidman loading and firing a machine gun.

This log line alone should assure an incredible film, but one’s viewing of Destroyer can be a frustrating experience. The film looks stellar, presenting a warm, muted, and moody visual that captures you immediately. Things change quickly however when Nicole Kidman points the handgun directly into the camera like she’s never held one before in her life.

Destroyer builds up the illusion of something more, but never delivers on that promise. Kidman delivers a performance that can only be described as “too much of a good thing”. She channels an almost Eastwood like presence to the role, but it never becomes believable, which is a lot to do with the problematic script. It never quite gives us room to figure out who the characters are, giving us very little to care about as the running time ticks on. The writers, like the audience will, get caught up in the mystery. This also brings us to the most frustrating point. Destroyer presents itself as a slow boil, and operates as one until it comes time to serve the food. The waiter comes out and presents a piece of wonderbread when you were expecting lobster.

This film could have been something but it gets bogged down in trying to humanize a character we don’t even believe in the first place. They say filmmaking is a team sport, and someone stumbled right out of the gates with this one, but if you’re okay with a lack of return getting wrapped up in this mystery could be a good way to burn some time.

2.5
Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a Toronto based filmmaker and creative mad man. Legend has it that he spent most of his childhood locked away in a cell beta testing Netflix.