Demolition (REVIEW)


Jake Gyllenhaal is great as a man coming to terms with his wife's death

A man loses his wife in a terrible car accident and has a hard time coping in the new film ‘Demolition.’

Jake Gyllenhaal gives another excellent performance as Davis, an investment banker who works for his father-in-law’s firm. He and his wife Julia (Heather Lind) have a very comfortable life, a beautiful house and perhaps everything they have always wanted. However, all this is shattered when while driving in Manhattan, their car is hit side-on, it’s an accident that leaves Julia dead and Davis shaken and broken up. As the days go by after the accident, David can’t seem to cope and can’t even open up to those around him, including his father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper) and mother-in-law Margot (Polly Draper). His parents come to stay with him but they can’t seem to help him cope either. But Davis has his own way of coping; he sends a complaint letter to the vending machine company in the hospital where his wife died because the M&M’s he bought didn’t fall down. Davis doesn’t stop at just one, he sends a successive chain of letters, all very confessional about his life and about his late wife. He confesses in these letters questioning if he really did love Julia, and he questions the decisions and choices he has made in his life. These confessional letters catch the attention of the vending machine company’s customer service manager Karen Moreno (Naomi Watts). She calls him to discuss these letters and eventually they meet and they both form an unlikely connection, with the help of Karen’s androgynous son Chris (Judah Lewis.) But Davis is still not coping, his behavour becomes very erratic and aggressive, both at work and elsewhere where he starts dismantling objects around him, including the toilet doors and computer at work and items at home. He also volunteers to be a part of a crew tearing down a house, and enlists Chris to help him demolish his house as well. But David eventually realizes that something was missing in his marriage, something to do with him, but it’s too late, Julia is gone forever.

‘Demolition’ is another triumph for Gyllenhaal, who has yet turn in a bad performance. As Davis, Gyllenhaal is on the verge of a massive breakdown, starts demolishing everything in sight, and yet can’t realize he’s lost the most precious thing to him in life. Director Jean-Marc Vallée, who directed Matthew McConaughey to an Oscar in 'Dallas Buyers Club', and Reese Witherspoon to an Oscar nomination for ‘Wild,’ knows a thing a two about showcasing his performer’s talents. The rest of the cast are stellar, especially Cooper as the aggrieved father and Watts as the single mother trying to cope. A flop in the U.S., don’t expect ‘Demolition’ to be winning an awards, but it’s worth seeing for Gyllenhaal’s performance alone.

‘Demolition’ is in UK cinemas on Friday.