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Andrew

Destroyer (2018)

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Has anyone else seen this?  I could see it being of interest to those on the Ecumenical Jury, as it's the most Dostevskian film I've seen in a while, embodying the famous Karamazov line about "if no God, then everything is permitted."  A couple of times during the film, the main criminal is heard to say "nobody is watching" (or something like that) as everything goes to shit around Nicole Kidman's undercover FBI agent.

Besides that, it's probably the best suspense film I've seen this film, a genre that generally bores me.  Kidman's performance is splendid, and she's almost unrecognizable in her 'present day' makeup - she looks convincingly wrecked, like many a late-stage alcoholic I've treated.  And Bradley Whitford is fun as usual - how his typecasting has changed from his days playing idealistic Josh on The West Wing, now playing characters for whom the word smarmy seems to have been invented.

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I wasn't much of a fan - didn't hate it, didn't love it - but I did wonder what was going on with a co-worker inviting the lead character to a Bible study (did anything come of that? I thought it was dropped), a character who's a pastor (though compromised, as is everyone else, it seemed), a visit to his church, and, ummm, what's up with the title of this movie? I'd by lying if I didn't say that John 10:10 popped to mind while considering, but that's, uh, probably a reach, right? And the film comes out on ... Christmas Day.

It's almost like the entire movie is one giant troll.

But again, I'm not sure there's anything intentional behind those disparate story and release-date elements. Neither of the screenwriters nor the director have faith-informed backgrounds, as far as I know.

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1 hour ago, Christian said:

ummm, what's up with the title of this movie

 

 

Funny, that's the exact question I asked Kusama at a Q&A (at Filmfest 919). Her response was understandably broad and non-committal, it's Manfredi's script. Of the ideas that were floated or alluded to, I guess I am most sympathetic to "time" being the answer to "who or what is the title referencing?" 

I've been in enough academic classrooms that I would be lying if I didn't admit that more than a small part of me thinks the title was chosen for it's aural similarities to "Destroy her" but that never came up and I'm not inclined to ask questions in that leading a form. 

I spent the back half of the film really wondering if Kidman's character was a male whether the film would be at all interesting and whether or not the answer to that question really mattered. (It reminded me in some ways of Bosch, though that's probably a very superficial connection.) 

This is essentially Oscar-bait for Kidman, and I'm okay with that. I think she's terrific in general and okay in this movie. Though her body type (slender) made it hard for me to see her as the detective, the scene where she gets beat up and then goes back after Bradley Whitford convinced me...and perhaps made the movie into a broader metaphor of women living in a man's world. 

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With the nods to faith that you mention, Christian, I think there's a case to be made that the writers/director were pointing to missed opportunities for reformation/rebirth.  The film is fresher in my mind, having seen it last night, so the Bible study invite was made by a former supervisor that Kidman's character never saw again; and the pastor wasn't compromised, he was actually sheltering a guy who was attempting to make amends for his past misdeeds.

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