Destroyer casts Nicole Kidman as Erin Bell, a grizzled police officer who must delve into her past and reconnect with former associates (and perps) to solve a murder with troubling parallels to a previous case. There’s ultimately little doubt that the biggest impediment to Destroyer‘s success is filmmaker Karyn Kusama’s excessively lackadaisical approach to Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi’s screenplay, as the picture, which runs a bloated 121 minutes, suffers from an almost total lack of momentum that’s compounded by a distressing absence of overtly engrossing sequences. (An electrifying, mid-movie bank robbery stands as a notable, and all-too-rare, exception to this.) It’s clear, then, that Destroyer is meant to come off as a searing character study of an incredibly damaged woman, and though Kidman’s thoroughly committed performance is indeed impressive, the film’s hands-off atmosphere makes it virtually impossible to wholeheartedly connect to or sympathize with Erin’s gritty exploits. And although the inclusion of an admittedly impressive third-act twist lends the proceedings a last-minute jolt of energy, Destroyer has long-since confirmed its place as a disappointing misfire that contains few fresh, innovative elements (ie this is the kind of story that’s been done many, many times in the past).

** out of ****

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