In Karyn Kusama’s dour detective noir, Nicole Kidman plays tortured LAPD officer Erin Bell, whose dark past resurfaces, bringing with it the haunting memories of an undercover job gone terribly wrong. Her central performance is fully committed, but undermined by distractingly over-the-top makeup choices; Bell look less worn down by sleepless nights and trauma, and more ravaged by the effects of a decades-long meth habit. Add a miscast Toby Kebbell as an unconvincing gang leader, and narrative blocks that don’t all logically fit together, and you’ve got an initially compelling but ultimately generic crime drama that occasionally tips over into absurdity. You’d be far better off watching Kusama’s tense, underappreciated 2015 horror thriller The Invitation.

Destroyer | Directed by Karyn Kusama (US 2018) with Nicole Kidman, Sebastian Stanf. Starts March 14.

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