Movie Review: Demolition

By Carolina Gonzalez (Carolina Portilla Garcés)

August 2016 – #carolinaswords

The movie Demolition is especially intriguing  because it deals with the numbness that  thousands of people are experiencing nowadays. It explores the lack of reaction and the apparent social and mental stability of some, while revealing the weaknesses and strengths that instability has to offer.  This numbness is the catharsis for the main character, Davis, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who has to deal with the loss of his wife.

The movie offers a detailed journey of how Davis goes from dealing with the apparent lack of emotions soon after his wife’s passing to a deeper explosion of anger and anguish created by that reality. All of it! Not just his wife’s death, but his joyless marriage, his cold home, his relationships at work, his family, his vision of life as a banker, as a adult… Even his pant-suits come to represent the annoyance of it all.

Jake Gyllenhaal is a marvelous lead actor, and his commitment to the project carries the script almost in its entirely. With straight forward dialog and a desire to be sincere, Davis becomes vulnerable yet resilient. Mr Gyllenhaal, as the seasoned actor he is becoming, truly explores the rollercoaster of emotions Davis goes thru in every scene.

And as much as I love watching movies where Mr. Gyllenhaal is on the screen more than 90% of the time, the in and outs of some supportive characters, specially the female ones, can leave some viewers wanting more out of the movie. There are some holes in their stories – and this is not a metaphor to the endless holes the main character  creates while destroying the world he can’t control or does not longer want-. For example, the open ending to Naomi Watts’ character, Karen Moreno,  is puzzling,  Nonetheless, Naomi  Watts do offer visceral emotions. I wish we could have come to understand Karen Moreno as much as Davis.

Another complex character is Karen’s son, Chris Moreno, played by Judah Lewis. This well developed supporting role is memorable. The dynamic with Davis explores the concepts of change, guilt and acceptance. Judah Lewis is remarkable on this role.

Demolition was fairly publicized before his release on 2015.  But the promotional work, now after all the buzz of a “New-Hollywood-Release-Movie” could have been more intriguing by showing a different clip. Probably a clip of a more in depth conversation could have shown its true essence.

Directed by  Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Bryan Sipe, Demolition has been categorized as a Comedy-Drama film; surely a juicy category.

Scripts that generate questions long after the movie has ended are worthy, and Demolition certainly accomplishes that. However, I wish I didn’t have questions about the script itself. I wish Davis parents had been brought back to check on him after everyone at work noticed his emotional change. I wish the lizard metaphor had come to a full circle; and that at some point the love between Davis and his wife would have shown as a more passionated relationship; perhaps by seeing the beginning states of their love connection the viewers could have mourned her death as well.

And how come the neighbors were not eager to call the police at some point? We, as a society, are getting used to turning a blind-eye to other people’s problems; but when someone goes haywire there is always a noisy neighbor that reacts either because of fear, compassion or because noise-complying is a thing.  But nonetheless… Demolition is a valuable story and a worth-watching performance by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Demolition: Must watch if you are a sensible soul.


NOTE: Let me know what you think of the movie.

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