A successful businessman dealing with a recent loss is an interesting premise to build a film around. From that point, there are several directions to go in as you’re attempting to craft something with significant weight behind it. That’s one of the positives that Demolition has working for itself, but it doesn’t manage to reach its goals in a way that can be seen as definitively exceptional.
Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Davis, a successful investment banker dealing with a tough period of time after losing his wife in a car accident. One would expect situations like this to be difficult, but his life starts to take shape in a way that no one would have anticipated. Instead of grieving in the usual way, Davis finds himself writing a series of letters to a vending machine company after simply wanting to file a complaint. Doing this is odd, but it may be just what he needs to rebuild his life and do things differently.
There are some intriguing themes in Demolition, but the more I thought it over the less I saw the film in a positive light. I first saw it as an awkward moving with quirky elements, but the flaws become more and more prominent over time. The oddities if Jake Gyllenhaal’s character works throughout, but the story doesn’t hold up all that well. That’s partially because of the simple fact that it’s disjointed and seemingly forced together at certain times.
In short, Demolition is an incomplete film that needed more work done before being released. This feels like that as you’re watching it, but it becomes even more obvious once you reflect on it a bit more afterward. There’s a bunch that goes into making a movie, so I understand that the lack of completion can happen in some instances, but this also subtracts from what could be a stellar feature length experience for viewers.
It’s only 100 minutes, so I’m sure they could have added more into it in order to polish things off and give it the proper structure that it deserves. Simply including a couple of extra scenes to accomplish this could have turned Demolition into a film truly worth recommending. A part of me is disappointed with them not going that extra mile, because there are some nice features in the picture.
Many of those qualities are qualities that films like Demolition have that appear to be attractive to the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal. He’s a good enough actor to take on bigger roles in larger films, but it’s clear to see and understand why he chooses films of this style as well. These roles are unique and probably more challenging for guys like him.
With him leading the way, many of the actors put in nice performances to help in not allowing this to fall apart. I can only imagine that a more well rounded film being built around them would have improved things drastically for them and whoever chooses to watch this. As a whole Demolition is certainly not unwatchable, but the limitations that it has prevent it from being something I’d encourage people to go see. There’s a chance you’ll like it, but there’s also a chance that you’ll have the same issues with it that I did.
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Film Length: 100 minutes
Release Date: April 8, 2016 (Limited)