Jake Gyllenhaal has reached the point where he’s an actor that I completely trust. If he’s in something, I’ll watch it. I mean, I’d even be behind him if he made Prince of Persia 2. Just kidding. I legit love Jake, but I’d rather him not ever try to be an action star again. Ever.
Here’s hoping you really like metaphors, because there are more than you can count in Demolition. Davis (played admirably by Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his wife in a car accident, and instead of being torn up about it, he actually discovers that he doesn’t seem to care. Since it’s a movie though and there has to be some form of character growth, he doesn’t just forget about her and then sit around watching cartoons. Nope, Davis goes about deconstructing his lavish, well-manicured life. He begins to take things apart (the bathroom stalls at work, his house, his computer and more) in order to see how they work, he randomly shacks up with a phone operator (played charmingly by Naomi Watts) and her son (played adventurously by Judah Lewis), he quits caring about his fancy job, and in general he rides a wave of don’t-give-a-fuck. Naturally, this upsets everyone in his life that’s actually been struggling with his wife’s death, and so there’s plenty of scenes where bewildered looks and angry tones get thrown at a stone-faced Davis. Yes, the film is a fairly dramatic affair, but it does steadily hold a good sense of humor, too, and I frequently found myself laughing at the work-in-progress Davis just as often as I wanted to hug him.
If I could, this is where I’d end the review and simply say that Demolition is a total triumph that accurately looks at self-discovery through tragedy, but the reality is that the third act isn’t that great. The film loses its edge and dives headfirst into a rabbit-hole of sad events, playing out as though there’s a concern as to whether or not you’ve been paying attention, so director Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild) attempts to make super sure that you “get it” or whatever. It’s all pretty unnecessary, and I thought it took away from the film. Still, regardless of its wobbly third act, I do think that Demolition is worth your time. See it.
One Last Thought:
Every time I see Naomi Watts these days she looks a little bit more real. I admire that she seems set on aging however she’s going to age and taking parts that don’t hide anything. It’s just not the usual Hollywood way, you know?