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Destroyer movie: Former undercover cop gives verdict on Nicole Kidman movie



Destroyer is a film from director Karyn Kusama who examines the dangerous and grim life of being an undercover detective among a gang of dangerous criminals.

The film follows Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) as her past mission among a group of armed thugs comes back to her haunt when a face from her past reemerges and threatens what's left of her life.

Already receiving a lot of acclaim, especially for Kidman's performance, we had to wonder how true to life it was to be so immersed within a criminal identity, despite being one of the officers trying to fight such people.

We spoke with a former undercover police officer, Liam Thomas, about how accurate the movie is.

"You can find an intimacy (mental or otherwise) with a colleague you're suddenly partnered with that can be both complex and troubling.

"You get hooked on the rush. Looking back, many of the officers I knew who worked undercover ended up with issues.

"It can also be tricky to capture the distance traveled when immersed in that kind of environment but I think the film deserves to be up there with some of the best movies looking at a dark underbelly of policing."

Nicole Kidman in Destroyer

Thomas is full of nothing but praise for Kidman's turn as the troubled Bell.

"Yes. It's a tremendous performance from Nicole Kidman. I was moved by her portrayal of Erin Bell."

Thomas also discussed the impact of such a lifestyle on a person's loved ones.

Bell and her daughter in Destroyer

"In many ways, you deceive them as much as the world you infiltrate. It's not a recipe for harmony."

Liam revealed he was in some dangerous spots when he was undercover.

"I had my drink spiked once trying to buy firearms which could have ended very badly and a case where police corruption compromised a meeting."

Masked criminals in Destroyer

The job, it seems, requires a certain number of qualities.

"Patience, a understanding of the rules of evidence and calmness that buys you in potentially stressful situations."

The former cop does not think it is worth trying to portray a lifestyle on film, however.

"I think cinema is capable of accurately reflecting any aspect of life with the right talent."

Liam Thomas

Thomas himself is now an actor and writer working in theater, TV and film, having recently set up a theater company Sleeping Dogs to champion northern voices on screen, and is also "currently writing a proof of concept script based on my former life."

When asked who he would want to portray him in a movie of his own life, he had a great choice.

"As a young man, Jack O'Connell, a terrific talent whose background I can relate too, I think he would bring an emotional truth.

"As an older man, me of course!"

Destroyer is out now in cinemas.


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