Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Demolition (2016)

Demolition poster.jpg
Destruction can be therapeutic 

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Running Time: 101 Minutes
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, Judah Lewis

Grief isn't limited to the few ways often portrayed in TV and film, it's an experience everybody deals with in their own individual way. This is the basis for the latest film from Jean-Marc Vallée, as one bears witness to investment banker Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal), who unravels after losing his wife in a car crash.

To say Davis' method of coping is unconventional would be an understatement. He closes himself off from the world, only expressing himself through destruction, and correspondence with a customer service rep (Naomi Watts), through complaint letters to a vending machine manufacturer. It's a form of denial that makes for a fascinating watch, with the offbeat tone handled really well by Vallée, who makes the moments of grief as compelling as the comedic points (which are genuinely funny).

But it truly comes to life thanks to Gyllenhaal, selling the material extraordinarily, making Davis' unpredictable nature seem like what he wants to do, while ensuring viewers feel the hurt he harbours deep down. From their heartbreaking loss, to the satisfying arc shared, Chris Cooper fantastically portrays Phil, Davis' father in law who's never liked him. Newcomer Judah Lewis threatens to steal every scene he's in, bouncing well of Gyllenhaal, even if the source of his inner turmoil is rather obvious. That's more than can be said for Naomi Watts, portraying a character implied to also be broken in her own way, yet is never divulged with the audience. Her subplot remains the films weakest link.

If you're in the mood for watching something different, Demolition is a wonderful surprise. An unorthodox view on the grieving process packed with charm, and terrific performances.

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