Demolition Movie Review
If your wife dies in a tragic car accident and you don’t care, are you an asshole? Or do you care and are just so emotionally disconnected that you simply appear to be one? Jake Gyllenhaal must deal with such questions in the oddly powerful Demolition, an unpredictable and entertaining drama from the director of Dallas Buyers Club.
Gyllenhaal delivers another fine performance in a movie that has him maneuvering through an emotional journey in which he convinces himself he didn’t love his late wife, decides to take apart every physical object in his life (including his house) and forms a friendship with a stalker (Naomi Watts) and her troubled 15-year-old son (Judah Lewis). Meanwhile, his father-in-law (Chris Cooper) disapproves of everything.
As much as Demolition is Gyllenhaal’s show, the movie pulses with character and energy. Some may say such energy is misplaced—that director Jean-Marc Vallée and screenwriter Bryan Sipe have created an exaggerated world where characters do weird things without consequence, where heavy stuff is layered upon more heavy stuff for the sake of dramatic weight—but Demolition is a slick, engaging film that packs a punch.
The movie is emotionally complex, and while it does come on a bit strong toward the end (seriously, a lot of bad stuff hits all at once, some of it unnecessary), it offers an intense and fascinating look at one man’s efforts to grieve.
Other highlights include Judah Lewis’s performance and the film’s dark humor.
Demolition isn’t perfect, but it’s a highly entertaining and unique drama nonetheless.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.