Not many people will see this film, and it’s a crying shame. Director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club, Young Victoria) has created a beautiful ode to the weird and sometimes damaging way people deal with the loss of a loved one. This film should be nominated (and win) so many awards, the directing and editing alone worthy of accolades. This is also probably Jake Gyllenhaal’s best performance to date, and yes, I mean that.
Demolition follows the life of Davis (Gyllenhaal), a stockbroker/trader in NYC dealing with the sudden loss of his young wife Julia (Heather Lind) in a car crash. The aftermath of her loss is not immediately apparent, Davis goes on with his daily routines while Julia’s father (Chris Cooper) who is Davis’s boss, crumbles visibly at the seams.
While waiting in the hospital during the attempts at resuscitating his wife, Davis purchases a snack from the Emergency Room vending machine, which promptly eats his change. Annoyed, Davis writes the vending company a letter, detailing the reasons for his ER visit, and more about his personal life than is strictly nessiscary. He goes on to write SEVERAL letters to the company, and eventually, their customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts) calls him.
They begin a phone conversation/relationship, and he continues to write his letters to the vending company. Karen starts following Davis, and eventually, they meet. Needless to say, the silver lining comes undone from Davis’s life, and he begins to take things apart. Literally, dismantling everything in his house and office in an attempt to ‘fix’ things. This spills over into his work life, and he gets sent home for a while to reset himself, but ends up taking everything apart there too.
I vote that everyone going through the loss of a loved one needs to seek out a demolition crew, get a sledgehammer in their hands, and utterly go nuts on the walls. The most cathartic and believable part of the film; a rage induced peace settles over Davis, and calms him a bit.
There is too much to go into without spoiling the rest of the film, just know that Karen’s young son Chris (Judah Lewis) is phenomenal and heartbreaking in this role. If there is any reason to see this movie other than Gyllenhaal’s fabulous performance, it’s Judah.
Demolition released to limited theaters on April 8th, 2016. Go see it.