Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Jake Gyllenhaal – Davis Mitchell
Naomi Watts – Karen
Judah Lewis – Chris
Chris Cooper – Phil
Heather Lind – Julia
Demolition reminded me instantly of Joy (2015). Single person in their early to mid-thirties, struggling emotionally whilst trying to keep family / friends sweet. Throw in a career ladder climb, spontaneous actions where the lead character breaks out of their usual routine to do something weird in public, relatives played by actors you’ve never seen before, and bingo – you got your movie.
Oh, and a kid. A movie like this has to have a young boy who befriends the lead adult character and becomes very involved in his life. As endearing as it was to see a child reach out and touch a grown man’s heart by Chris reaching out physically and pulling Davis’s miserable face into a smile, this young-meets-old has gotten old itself; it’s an over-used element which makes Demolition slightly predictable.
This movie tries desperately to be artistic in its production style and bizarre scenarios, but just doesn’t cut it. Again, another recycled element comes into play when Davis writes letters to a company whose female employee receives them and begins calling him at home, late at night. Her whiney, sultry, “I’m bored with my life and need escapism” voice (Watts) drones on and on with Davis responding in short bursts whilst going about doing the housework, etc. It’s not very intriguing neither is it entertaining, and just comes across as plain weird. In fact, as Demolition continued I started to wonder why Black Label Media even released it to the public, let alone produced it.
I also wondered why I bothered going to see it..
If I could sum up Demolition in a single sentence, I would say something like:
“very bored, angry man goes on the rampage and smashes up as much stuff as he possibly can whilst experiencing a mid or quarter-life crisis”.
Seriously, this is all Demolition is. Its title is incredibly apt, with the movie focusing on a single man as he storms around venting all the shit going on inside him, which would have been better done in a counselling session rather than unleashing himself on the poor unsuspecting public. And the destruction of various places and people continues to the point of removing any feeling. There is no emotional value to this movie in the end as it becomes a shit-show of a single man on a rampage, focusing purely on his ability to tear things apart for absolutely no reason.
I’ve no doubt the more analytical viewer will interpret all this action as ‘one grieving man channeling his pain into violent acts which symbolise how his life is spiralling out of control’, blah blah blah.. but in all honesty Demolition was simply, a total mess, regardless of symbolic action.
As this movie neared its end I couldn’t have felt happier for a certain character..
I wanted out. The only thing on my mind as I stared at the screen was the query of which flavour syrup I should get in my latte when I went to Starbucks after leaving the cinema.
(I highly reccommend caramel, strongly advise to avoid sugar-free caramel – it tastes like burnt tree).
Gyllenhaal gives it his all as always, bringing a character to the screen who certainly leaves an impression. His interpretation of Davis Mitchell is spot-on, although isn’t on the same level of dynamics as other parts he’s given us in other movies. The actor effortlessly carries the entire feature, and gives the viewer one or two precious moments. Demolition isn’t my kind of movie at all, but I can’t deny some of the things the lead protagonist gets up to are quite sweet. So the movie wins on that level.
My review of Demolition ends here. I refuse to waste any more time on talking about such a dull waste of screen space. This movie is certainly not one to watch if you’re feeling crappy; it will make you feel much worse by use of dark scenarios, set, emotions, even dark dialogue. It’s almost morbid in production, using a grieving widower to display antics of eradicative behaviour purely for entertainment. Gyllenhaal is famed for his diverse roles and in most movies (Nightcrawler for example) does himself proud with a very effective, memorable performance. Here however, director Jean-Marc Vallée sticks him on set and tells him to speak as miserably as possible for as long as possible. And then to grab a sledgehammer and smash the entire feature into pieces as his character whirlwinds around set doing the same. It really isn’t great, at all.
And if someone offered me the chance to sit through Demolition again I would refuse.
Sorry – roll my eyes – and then refuse.