Not looking good for Vallee/Gyllenhaal's "Demolition"

    • R
    • Limited

    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,… More »
    Starring: Chris Cooper, Heather Lind, Jake Gyllenhaal, Judah Lewis, Naomi Watts

  •  dEMOLITION (2016)

  • My AwardsDaily Review 9.11.2015:
  • The press got its first look at Jean Marc Vallee’s Demolition, a film that had been expected to be a big player for this year’s awards cycle before it was pushed to a 2016 release date. Vallee is a unique talent who’s French Canadian films like Cafe de Flore and C.R.A.Z.Y are well worth seeking out, he’s a visual stylist who concentrates a lot of his time in the editing room to try to get the right flow to his movies. A good example would be last year’s Wild which had a very organic non-linear narrative.
    Demolition uses the criss-cross Vallee editing technique to tell the story of recently widowed husband — played by Jake Gyllenhaal — who therapeutically decides to demolish and repair various things, much to the chagrin of his father in-law played by the excellent Chris Cooper. Yes, that plot alone is filled with obvious metaphors about trying to start over and rebuild, but the film is surprisingly light on its feet and has a very redemptive feel to it. All that aside, I found Gylenhaal to be the reason to watch Demolition. He’s great and if this had been released in 2015 I’d say he would have had a decent shot at a nomination given that he was robbed last year for his career-best work in Nightcrawler.

    In my view, the film gives the great Naomi Watts short shrift. She plays a lost soul who compliments Gylnehaal’s character a little too well. She isn’t given much screen time, in fact her character disappears for a long stretch only to suddenly come back near the end. As uneven at it may be, the film has artistry that I found as commendable as Vallee’s other two American films (Dallas Buyers Club and Wild). His use of music has always been there in his style, and in Demolition he uses certain passages of music to reinforce a state of mind or a mood that one of the characters might be feeling. There’s an especially amusing use of Heart’s “Crazy On You” which is very well done.