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Destroyer


Nicole Kidman has done some of her best work in the last few years, including her incredibly vulnerable turn in HBO's miniseries " Big Little Lies".

She's never gone as dark as she does in the new crime drama DESTROYER.

Kidman is LA detective Erin Bell. As we meet her, she looks like she's been drunk in the same clothes for days, shuffling up to the scene of a homicide with no sense of urgency.

Bell is burned out, beat up and at the end of her rope. She's not the best candidate for a new series of murders that draw her very quickly into her past.

In flashbacks that fill half the film, we see Bell as a young sheriff, recruited to go undercover, deep into a group of serial bank robbers.

Her undercover partner is Chris, well played by Sebastian Stan (The Winter Soldier in "The Avengers"). Posing as lovers, they immerse themselves under the thumb of the gang's very twisted leader Silas (Toby Kebbell).

Constantly moving back and forth between the present and her undercover work that's directly tied to her current case, we learn how Erin went from anxious recruit to destroyed woman.

Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) is a member of the gang, Scoot McNairy (True Detective Season 3) is excellent as Erin's ex-husband and Bradley Whitford brings some much needed humor as an entitled lawyer who screws with the wrong detective.

Kidman is fantastic, without a trace of her Australian accent or beauty, she's a hardened, miserable woman with absolutely nothing to lose. Watching her battle with her 16 year old daughter Shelby (newcomer Jade Pettyjohn) is painful in its realism.

Painful is a great word for most of the film.

VERY slow moving with only sporadic action scenes in the past, it's a study in patience. Kidman is mesmerizing as Erin, painful in her near complete lack of empathy or emotion. There is no happiness in her present, which is made all the more painful when you see her years before in love with Chris.

Bad decisions have decades of consequences and Erin's quest for a sense of reconciliation is challenging to watch. I'm not sure you could call DESTROYER enjoyable, but it's powerful and a fascinating showcase for Kidman, finding new depths in her talent 30 years after she first hit American screens in "Dead Calm".

DESTROYER gets a B. If you're looking for fast paced action, keep walking.....

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