Destroyer parents guide

Destroyer Parent Guide

Mind-boggling amounts of profanity and a steady diet of violence and gore make this tightly plotted thriller suitable only for viewers with strong stomachs and a fondness for the genre.

Overall C

An undercover assignment in her past catches up with police detective Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) with violent results.

Release date January 25, 2019

Violence D
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Destroyer rated R? The MPAA rated Destroyer R for language throughout, violence, some sexual content and brief drug use

Run Time: 121 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Destroyer stars Nicole Kidman who through some miraculous transformation in the make-up department, emerges as Erin Bell, a grizzled and worn-down LAPD homicide detective. Bell struggles to work with her fellow officers and is worried about the poor choices her 16-year-old daughter Shelby (Jade Pettyjohn) is making. However, when a dye-pack marked banknote arrives on her desk, Bell embarks on a quest for revenge that will expose a dark history of undercover work, bank robbery, and murder. Will Detective Bell be able to keep herself under control or will she become just as dangerous as the criminals she pursues? And will she be able to elude the dark shadows of her past long enough to catch her quarry?

As the grades suggest, this is obviously not a film for children or teens, and fully deserves its Restricted rating. Profanity is off the charts, with 180 curse words in a 121 minute movie, including a mind-boggling 140 sexual expletives. (One wonders how the writer managed to fit in any other dialogue in the screenplay.) This production is also extremely violent with numerous scenes of shootings and vicious beatings. Victims are shown bruised, bleeding and in pain, when they aren’t dead. However, violence is not glamorized in Destroyer. The movie is a tragedy, not a how-to guide and it is made very clear that crime does not pay. It also raises important questions about living with guilt and the difficulties of parenting. Characters are shown facing the consequences of poor life decisions, and these are frequently severe. If there was ever a film to make a life of crime unappealing, this is it.

The strongest part of the film is Kidman’s mesmerizing performance. Reminiscent of Charlize Theron’s turn as real life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster, Kidman is equal parts captivating, horrifying, and tragically vulnerable. While the plot is a paint-by-the-numbers cops and robbers revenge thriller, Kidman’s performance makes this one of the most gripping films of the year, and one of the most interesting movies about bank robbery since 1995’s Heat.

The soundtrack also stands out. Composed by Theodore Shapiro (who you may remember from his French café sound in A Simple Favor), the soundtrack to Destroyer sounds more like Johann Johannsen’s work in Sicario and is deep and frightening.

Destroyer is a captivating thriller, with enough twists and tragedy to keep you firmly in your seat for its two-hour runtime. The movie doesn’t feel rushed, but the snappy pacing means that you don’t realize how much time has passed until credits roll. Adult viewers with strong stomachs and an appreciation for this genre are likely to enjoy the film. Moviegoers looking for family friendly fare will definitely want to look elsewhere for an evening’s entertainment.

Directed by Karyn Kusama. Starring Nicole Kidman, Sebastian Stan, Tatiana Maslany. Running time: 121 minutes. Theatrical release January 25, 2019. Updated

Rating & Content Info

Why is Destroyer rated R? Destroyer is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, violence, some sexual content and brief drug use

Violence: A corpse is shown with several gunshot wounds to the torso, bleeding heavily. An individual plays Russian Roulette but is not injured. At multiple points, individuals are severely beaten, hit, kicked, punched, or pistol-whipped, usually sustaining some visible injury. There is a firefight in which several people are shot and killed. A woman threatens to kill a man unless he leaves her daughter alone. Two individuals are shot and killed during a bank robbery. Another individual is shot to death. Dead bodies are seen with lots of blood. A bloody car accident is shown. An armed bank robbery is shown on screen. A woman kisses a firearm.
Sexual Content: A character exchanges sexual favours for information. While not containing and explicit nudity, this encounter involves obvious sounds and motions that indicate sexual activity.
Profanity: Profanity excessive with 180 uses of curse words, including 140 uses of a sexual expletive. Virtually every other class of curse word appears in this film, with the exception of racial slurs.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters are frequently shown drinking in party environments. The protagonist is indicated to be an alcoholic, although not shown drinking excessively on screen. A 16-year old is found in a bar with a fake ID, and although it is implied she was drinking, she is not shown with alcohol. An individual is shown snorting cocaine. Characters smoke cigarettes on some occasions.

Page last updated

Destroyer Parents' Guide

Bell struggles to connect with her daughter. Why do you think this is? How much more difficult is parenting for individuals with high-pressure jobs?

Arturo seems to be trying to pay for his crimes by doing charity work - do you think that this is sufficient, considering what he has done? How can people rehabilitate themselves?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Destroyer movie is April 23, 2019. Here are some details…

Related home video titles:

Nicole Kidman has had a varied career. If you want to see more of her work try watching My Life, The Invasion, Moulin Rouge, The Hours, or The Interpreter.