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Karyn Kusama
Nicole Kidman, Toby Kebbell, Sebastian Stan
Writing Credits:
Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi

A police detective reconnects with people from an undercover assignment in her distant past in order to make peace.

Box Office:.
Opening Weekend:
$55,347 on 3 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 121 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 4/23/2019
• Audio Commentary with Director Karyn Kusama
• Audio Commentary with Writers Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi
• “Breakdown of an Anti-Hero” Featurette
• Gallery
• Trailer
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Destroyer [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 23, 2019)

A dark thriller, 2018’s Destroyer takes us to Los Angeles. Years earlier, LAPD Detective Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) went undercover to infiltrate a drug ring. This ended poorly and led her on a long self-destructive spiral.

When a corpse materializes, Erin deduces that the drug ring’s leader Silas Howe (Toby Kebbell) stands behind it. This forces her to confront the demons of her past while she deals with the investigation.

Glamorous movie stars like to “uglify” themselves as proof of serious dramatic intent. Charlize Theron put on pounds and totally deglammed on her way to Oscar glory for Monster, and Kidman herself took home trophies with a moderately altered experience in 2002’s The Hours.

For Destroyer, Kidman goes well beyond the putty nose she wore in Hours, as she looks borderline unrecognizable here. She doesn’t reach Theron levels, mainly because Erin doesn’t require Kidman to put on pounds ala Aileen in Monster, but she still undergoes a pretty radical transformation.

Honestly, Kidman probably goes too far in that regard, as does much of the rest of the cast. Kidman, Kebbell and a few others portray both 2018 and 2001 versions of themselves, and the 2018 characters tend to look much worse than they should.

I get that we need to feel the weight of 17 years of depravity and bad choices on the shoulders of Erin, Silas and the others, but the makeup effects just don’t feel realistic. Even though we understand the characters went through much hard living, most of them look 30-plus years older in their 2018 versions vs. 2001.

Except for Toby Huss as Erin’s colleague, that is. The filmmakers slap a wig on Huss’s naturally shiny pate for the 2001 scenes but otherwise allow him to essentially look the same.

Again, I understand the need to show the toll of bad living on Erin and the others, but the makeup becomes a distraction and a potential gimmick. At times it feels like Erin looks so terrible less to serve the role and more so Kidman can prove her dramatic worth by her willingness to look awful.

This seems unnecessary, partly because the makeup really does threaten to take me out of the story. In addition, Kidman and the others offer such good performances that the extreme aging effect of the makeup feels superfluous.

When Destroyer works, it does so due to its performances. From Kidman on down, the actors embrace the stinky, ugly nature of the project and don’t shy from the proverbial seedy underbelly.

Indeed, Destroyer revels in that underbelly. This often feels like something from the late 1990s, back when every detective movie looked to Se7en as its role model and every director tried to out-Fincher Fincher.

20 years later, the film’s “seedy for the sake of seediness” motif doesn’t work especially well. Do we need a scene in which Erin gives a handjob to a terminally ill ex-con in her pursuit of information? Probably not.

That segment seems especially ironic because unlike the ex-con, Destroyer doesn’t come with a happy ending. Sorry if that sounds like a spoiler, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know well in advance that this kind of film won’t conclude with hugs and smiles.

And that’s fine with me, as I don’t demand – or want – a perky, cheery conclusion to every film I see. I would like one with a more coherent narrative than what we get in Destroyer.

As it hops back and forth between 2001 and 2018, a story emerges, but it suffers from a lack of clarity. The movie comes with a collection of linked scene snippets, segments that fit together in a way without a real concise connection.

This means we see Erin and the others go from Point A to Point B eventually, but it becomes a messy path. Plenty of tangents appear along the way, and many don’t go anywhere in particular.

Given my affection for this kind of gritty thriller and the strong work of the actors, Destroyer always remains watchable. However, it drops the ball too often to develop into a satisfying package.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Destroyer appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was an appealing presentation.

Sharpness worked well, as only a sliver of softness crept into the occasional wide shot. Overall definition remained positive, though, without real intrusions into that area.

I saw no evidence of jagged edges or moiré effects, and the image lacked edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to appear.

Colors tended toward a mix of teal and amber much of the time, and the Blu-ray depicted the hues well. The palette didn’t sizzle, but the tones seemed well-rendered within the design choices.

Blacks appeared dark and tight, while low-light shots demonstrated nice clarity and delineation. I felt pleased with this high-quality presentation.

In addition, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack worked fine, as the mix brought the variety of natural settings to life. Various environmental bits filled the spectrum nicely, and various action beats used the speakers in a dynamic way.

Audio quality appeared positive as well, with natural, concise speech. Music showed nice range and vivacity.

Effects came across as clean and accurate, with very good bass response. The soundtrack added to the movie’s impact.

A few extras fill out the disc, and we find two separate audio commentaries, the first of which comes from director Karyn Kusama. She provides a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, photography, music, cast and performances, sets and locations, editing, sets and locations, and other domains.

Kusama brings us a solid discussion of the film. We get an introspective, rich view of the production in this informative chat.

For the second commentary, we hear from screenwriters Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific discussion of story and characters, aspects of the screenplay, cast and performances, sets and locations, and connected topics.

While not a bad track, this one feels a bit flat. Manfredi and Hay touch on a decent array of subjects but I can’t claim that we learn a lot of useful material. Though this becomes a listenable discussion, it doesn’t add as many insights as I might expect.

Breakdown of an Anti-Hero runs 19 minutes, six seconds and involves Kusama, Hay, Manfredi, costume designer Audrey Fisher, makeup designer Bill Corso, producer Fred Berger, and actors Nicole Kidman, Tatiana Maslany, and Sebastian Stan.

“Breakdown” gets into story and characters, cast and performances, costumes and makeup, stunts and action, locations, photography and Kusama’s impact on the production. Despite some of the usual happy talk, this becomes a fairly efficient look at aspects of the film’s creation.

A Gallery presents 12 images from the film and set. It becomes wholly forgettable.

The disc opens with ads for Vice and If Beale Street Could Talk, and Sneak Peek throws in a clip for Sorry to Bother You as well. We also get a trailer for Destroyer.

A second disc offers a DVD copy of Destroyer. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

A glum, dark thriller, Destroyer doesn’t turn me off due to its subject matter. However, it does lose me somewhat because of the erratic manner in which the story comes our way. The Blu-ray brings largely solid picture and audio along with a smattering of bonus materials. The actors make Destroyer worth a look but it doesn’t wholly satisfy.

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 1
View Averages for all rated titles.

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