Director: Karyn Kusama
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Tatiana Maslany, Sebastian Stan, Bradley Whitford
Genre: Sunshine Noir (it’s a real thing – look it up)
Twenty-four hours after seeing Destroyer and I’m still trying to work out if casting Nicole Kidman as Erin Bell, undercover cop gone rogue and on a mission of revenge, was an act of genius and a deliberate statement, or a mistake. That’s because it takes a lot of makeup artistry to make Kidman look tired, drug addled and desperate.
Kidman is classically beautiful. In the Destroyer back story this shines through. But years later, after tragedy, broken relationships and abuse of various sorts, her physical breakdown is readily apparent and a defining feature of the film, with plenty of close-ups of her raddled face to prove it.
Yet there’s something about Kidman’s appearance that doesn’t quite work. Maybe it’s the bad wig, the nose, the blotchy skin or the onset of age. It could be her gait or her attitude.
Clearly, Bell has aged badly. That’s the whole point. She’s a destroyer of everything around her, and of herself. I get it. But when your eyes are as blue and your cheekbones as perfect as Kidman’s, when your skin is naturally radiant and your features normally so symmetrical, it’s hard to hide that.
So despite Kidman’s generally excellent performance, it’s difficult to escape the physical transformation that doesn’t quite convince. And I know I shouldn’t be focusing on her appearance when there are so many other great, good and just okay elements of the film I could mention. But that’s our Nic. She dominates the big screen irrespective of whether she’s being good or bad or attempting to be ugly.
Rating: Rating: Three-and-a-half wigs.