‘Demolition’ explores moving on from tragedy. This can be difficult to do with someone eternally bound to another and various emotions hard to shake. If in a marriage, one half is gone with the other searching for ways to go forward. With the thespian skills of Jake Gyllenhaal, ‘Demolition’ benefits from his acting and a strong story. It can be heavy at times but like any rewarding film offers much in return for viewer investment.
When his wife is killed in a car crash, investment banker Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) falls to pieces. Although his father in law Phil (Chris Cooper) tells him to pull himself together, Davis can’t easily let go. While writing a letter of complaint about a faulty machine, Davis captures the attention of customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts). Despite having her own issues, she and Davis form a mutual connection. With her help, Davis sets out to demolish his old life in favour of a new and potentially hopeful one.
A film about a man going through a nervous breakdown and dealing with grief hardly sounds like a good time. Although ‘Demolition’ deals with weighty issues, it has elements making it absorbing. Davis’ anguish feels genuine thanks to Gyllenhaal’s magnetic performance. He is ably backed up by Watts who gives a fine performance as an equally lost soul. Their strange combination helps them through their emotional turmoils even if those around them can’t deal with their behaviour.
Jean-Marc Vallee’s direction delivers the authenticity ‘Demolition’ needs to feel believable. Despite a meandering narrative and a few scenes not quite working, Vallee ensures the characters hold the attention. Along with Gyllenhaal and Watts, Cooper delivers his usual solid rendition of a father coping with losing his daughter. You feel his character’s perplexity at Davis’ actions with the cinematography and soundtrack adding much to these sequences.
Re-connection and re-discovering who you are become the key points ‘Demolition’ makes. It is an often confusing and difficult journey to take but ‘Demolition’ proves dealing with death is like that. How we come to terms with loss and how long it takes are issues ‘Demolition’ effectively explores.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 7
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.
Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.