The premise of a guilt-ridden cop boozing his way through life until he can settle one last debt and go out in a blaze of glory doesn’t scream “original.” And Karyn Kusama
’s version of this American tale, “Destroyer
,” written by Phil Hay
and Matt Manfredi
, doesn’t stray too far from the tired tropes, except for the fact that the “he” is now a “she,” played by Nicole Kidman
donning distractingly layered makeup and a wig that’s just trying too damned hard.
But despite the film’s needlessly fractured structure and a relentlessly grim story, Kidman and Kusama seem to be speaking the same language, in quieter moments illuminating not just the faults of the protagonist but also the faults of every tragic hard-boiled detective in cinematic history.
Detective Erin Bell
(Kidman) can’t catch a break. She’s an authority figure lacking authority, a barely-living joke to colleagues and perps alike.