Destroyer (2018 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Karyn Kusama|
|Music by||Theodore Shapiro|
|Edited by||Plummy Tucker|
|Distributed by||Annapurna Pictures|
|Box office||$5.6 million|
Destroyer is a 2018 American crime film directed by Karyn Kusama and written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. It stars Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Scoot McNairy, Bradley Whitford, and Sebastian Stan, and follows a former undercover police officer who takes revenge against members of a gang, years after her case was blown.
The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on August 31, 2018 and was released in the United States on December 25, 2018, by Annapurna Pictures. It received generally positive response from critics who mainly praised Kidman's performance but was a box office bomb grossing mere $5.6 million on a $9–12.4 million budget. At the 76th Golden Globe Awards, Kidman was nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama.
LAPD detective Erin Bell arrives on the scene of a John Doe murder and informs the responding officers that she knows the identity of the murderer.
At the police station, Erin receives a $100 bill stained from a dye pack in an unmarked envelope. Using a contact at the FBI, she confirms that the bill is from a bank robbery committed by a California gang sixteen years prior that she and her former partner, FBI agent Chris, were embedded in as undercover officers. She tells her superiors that she believes the bill to be proof that the gang's leader, Silas, is once again active.
Erin works her way through the remaining members of the gang in order to find Silas. She begins with Toby, who was in prison but is now gravely ill and living with his mother on compassionate release. She gives him a handjob in exchange for the location of Arturo, a member of the gang atoning for his past crimes by offering pro bono legal services to immigrants. Arturo provides Erin with the location of Dennis DiFranco, a lawyer who launders the multi-million dollar haul from the original robbery and from whom Erin deduces that Silas is active again because the money from that heist is almost gone. After threatening him, DiFranco gives Erin the location of the next money drop, which is performed by Silas' girlfriend Petra, who has developed a severe drug addiction. Erin tracks Petra, eventually intervening in a bank robbery committed by Silas' new gang. She and Petra brutally injure each other in a fight, ending with Erin abducting Petra.
Flashbacks reveal that Erin and Chris developed a romantic relationship while undercover, with Erin eventually becoming pregnant, later having their daughter, Shelby. At Erin's behest, they decided to become legitimate participants in a bank robbery and planned to take their shares of the heist, report to their superiors that they lost contact with the gang, and eventually quit the force. The robbery was botched when a dye pack exploded in one of the bags, and Silas killed the bank teller who accidentally placed it. When Chris attempted to intervene, he was shot and killed by Silas. After crashing the van in a dumpster and seriously injuring Toby, Erin hid her share of the heist and returned to policing, disclosing neither her original plan nor her share of the heist.
In the present, Erin visits Ethan, Shelby's adoptive father, and later talks with Shelby. Erin visits a self storage unit to retrieve her $300,000+ share of the stolen money, but finds that all but $11,000 is stained with dye. Silas sends a text message to Petra's phone, instructing her to meet him at the Sixth Street Viaduct, where Erin confronts and shoots him, avenging Chris. She returns the next morning to find the police investigating the crime scene: the John Doe murder investigation depicted in the first scene of the film. With Silas dead, Erin gives evidence of her guilt – where he can find Petra, a stained bill, and the key to her storage unit – to her partner, Antonio. Erin has been bleeding internally for hours, from the injuries she sustained during her fight with Petra, and she dies while sitting in her car.
In August 2017, Nicole Kidman entered into talks to star in the film with Karyn Kusama directing, with the casting confirmed in October. In November, Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan, Bradley Whitford, Toby Kebbell, and Scoot McNairy were added to the cast, and filming commenced in Los Angeles in early December, with the rest of the cast filled out with the additions of Beau Knapp, Jade Pettyjohn, Toby Huss, Zach Villa, and James Jordan.
In May 2018, Annapurna Pictures acquired distribution rights to the film. It had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on August 31, 2018. It was also screened at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, in the Platform program. It was also screened at AFI Fest on November 13, 2018. It was released on December 25, 2018.
Destroyer made $1.5 million in the United States, and $4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $5.5 million.
The film made $58,572 from three theaters in its opening weekend, a six-day total of $115,661.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 74% based on 256 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Destroyer's grueling narrative is as uncompromising as Nicole Kidman's central performance, which adds extra layers to a challenging film that leaves a lingering impact." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 62 out of 100, based on 44 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Peter Debruge of Variety and Brooke Marine of W both found Kidman "unrecognizable" in the role and Debruge added that "she disappears into an entirely new skin, rearranging her insides to fit the character’s tough hide", whereas Marine highlighted Kidman's method acting.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipients||Result||Ref.|
|Golden Globes||January 6, 2019||Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama||Nicole Kidman||Nominated|||
|Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society||January 9, 2019||Best Actress||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||February 17, 2019||Best Actress in Motion Picture – Drama||Nominated|||
|Noir Film Festival||December 9, 2018||Special Mention||Won|||
|Nevada Film Critics Society||December 19, 2018||Best Actress (tied with Toni Collette for Hereditary)||Nicole Kidman||Won|||
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