Movie Review: Demolition


Demolition is definitely a quirky movie and parts of it are slow-paced, but I ended up enjoying it for the most part. It's more of an indie role for Jake Gyllenhaal, and Naomi Watts is great here as well.

Davis (Gyllenhaal) is driving with his wife, Julia (Heather Lind), when they get hit from the side; she dies, and he escapes relatively unscathed. He's back at his job in investments quicker than he should be, where his father-in-law (Chris Cooper) is his boss. He knows he should be sad about Julia's death, but for some reason he doesn't feel anything at all - except the need to take apart things, like computers and bathroom stalls and cappuccino machines.

Something has broken loose in Davis, and when he deposits $1.25 into a vending machine at the hospital, and his peanut M&Ms get stuck in the machine, he writes a series of very personal letters to the vending company; where Karen (Naomi Watts), in the customer service department, eventually calls him to see if he's doing okay. From there, Karen and Davis get to know each other better, embarking on an interesting friendship of sorts, which changes Davis's outlook on life.

Both Gyllenhaal and Watts were very good in this film, and this is a different type of movie for Gyllenhaal - it's definitely more "Oscar bait" and more indie than I've seen him in before. Relative newcomer Judah Lewis was also great as Watts' son, a 15-year-old (who "looks 12," says Watts' character) who is having identity issues and who slowly starts to bond with Davis. I enjoy Chris Cooper in all of his movies too, and he does well here as Julia's father, who is grieving and who wonders why Davis is not.

Yes, see this movie. Be aware that there are some slow parts throughout, but overall, I was rarely bored; it's interesting to see how the film will end. I will say that it's not a movie I thought about much afterwards, but when I was watching it, it captivated my interest. One might think that Davis and Karen's relationship would turn romantic, but it never really does - there might be a frisson of romance there, but the movie is more about companionship, which Davis sorely needs at this point in his life, and his relationship with her son. I'd recommend Demolition to fans of Gyllenhaal, Watts, or Cooper, and to anyone that enjoys a different sort of movie than a "popcorn film," a category into which this movie definitely doesn't fall.

Demolition is in theaters today, April 8th, and is rated R with a runtime of 100 minutes. 3.5 stars out of 5.

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