Destroyer follows the moral and existential odyssey of LAPD detective Erin Bell who, as a young cop, was placed undercover with a gang in the California desert with tragic results. When the leader of that gang re-emerges many years later, she must work her way back through the remaining members and into her own history with them to finally reckon with the demons that destroyed her past.
"Destroyer is, at its core, a film about confronting your mistakes and making the brave decision to be accountable for your actions. Within the readable frameworks of crime thriller and cop movie, it’s also an insistent character study, hinging on the wounded but resilient psychic landscape of an LAPD detective named Erin Bell. The criminal underworld she investigates, alongside a storytelling structure that allows for narrative surprise, recall films like Heat and The Usual Suspects. But the film also allows intimate access to her in a tradition of genre films as varied as Taxi Driver, A Prophet, or Nightcrawler. It’s made more modern and relevant by its complicated female lead, and I can’t think of a time when I’ve loved a character more."
After graduating from NYU, Karyn Kusama (United States, 1968), worked as an editor on documentary films and in production on independent film and music videos. Her debut film Girlfight was released in 2000 and won the Director's Prize and the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2009, Kusama directed the horror film Jennifer's Body, which was written by Diablo Cody. In 2015, Kusama directed The Invitation, a horror movie written by Kusama's husband Phil Hay and his writing partner, Matt Manfredi. It premiered at the 2015 SXSW Festival to great acclaim. In 2017, Kusama directed a segment of an all female directed anthology horror film called XX. Starting in 2015, Kusama began working regularly in TV as a director. Her latest directorial effort, a crime-thriller titled Destroyer (2018), made its debut at the Telluride Film Festival to positive reactions, and later screened in competition for the Platform Prize at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.