Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), a successful investment banker, struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper) to pull it together, Davis continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions. Davis’ letters catch the attention of customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts) and, amidst emotional and financial burdens of her own, the two form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son Chris (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.Wikipedia
There are many reasons to be worried about the moral centre of Demolition, and none of those concerns the aforesaid friend, played by Jake Gyllenhaal as a vacuous Wall Street type looking for meaning after his wife dies in an accident.
It’s a sad truth that Demolition will probably be forgotten. Movies like this usually are. But not by the few who saw it. Because it’s hopeful, it uplifts and it makes promises. Who cares if it can keep them?
Plenty of metaphors - some unnecessary - but decent fare, on the whole.
The film has a crackling cast on offer. You have Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper leading the performances. Gyllenhaal as the young and brash guy is the perfect complement to Watts’ older but confused pothead blonde. They make a fantastic couple, almost like Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Despite their best efforts, the film does absolutely nothing. The final act, a desperate attempt to make a popcorn happy ending seem poignant is just disappointing. Having watched the film you desperately wonder, what the entire point was. It’s definitely not the kind of sentiment you want to end with.
Both the director and Gyllenhaal work hard at keeping things believable and interesting. Gyllenhaal's performance is sincerely involved while Jean-Marc Vallée's narrative takes the unexpected path to evolved and involved recompense. Together they make this event a eminently worthy experience.
But this visually inventive film moves rather smoothly. It also feels a bit indulgent, but the good kind – that gives us a couple of sexy sequences: including one where Davis dreams of simply walking with his headphones on in a crowded street, while the rest move backwards in time.
Demolition is first and foremost a movie about grief, and how everyone deals with it in different ways, but it's as unconventional as you can get, with a dark comic tone that mirrors something like Fight Club or American Psycho. That means that it probably won’t be for everyone, although it never enters territory quite as dark as either of those movies.