I just checked my watch, and yes, it looks like we are at the point where I will just about see anything if you tell me that Jake Gyllenhaal is in it.
I don’t even need to list his last few years of excellent films. But I will talk about 2015. Southpaw was divided, but it made my top of 2015 list. Everest wasn’t as universally loved either, but it took me on an emotional thrill ride and I still gave it a 4 out of 4. Although, sure, that one had less Gyllenhaal being amazing.
I don’t have a damn clue what Demolition is actually about, but knowing one actor in it has made me happy to watch it.
It is like the opposite effect of Robert De Niro now.
Heck, if Jake could just dance for 90 minutes I’d call the movie a roaring success.
Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) is in finances, super rich, and married to Julia (Heather Lind), but she just died in a car accident. Davis was the passenger but he only got a few scrapes. This really fucking sucks. Sure Davis might not have been the most emotionally invested person ever, but he still loved his wife and she meant the world to him. She also meant the world to her parents, Phil (Chris Cooper) and Margot (Polly Draper). Oh, Phil happens to be Davis’ boss. They are both wrecked over this, but Davis seems to feel almost nothing. He doesn’t cry, he doesn’t scream, it is like he is still in shock and is empty inside.
None of this helps when he decides to go to a vending machine and spend $1.25 on a bag of peanut M&M’s, which fails to drop. What the fuck vending machine. So Davis sends a complaint letter to the company and accidentally lets them know a lot about his life. He then writes follow up letters, making sure they know the whole story. This is very personal, but hey, its Davis’ way of finally talking about his issues.
This eventually leads him to Karen (Naomi Watts), the entire PR department, who feels connected with Davis despite being a complete stranger. She has a 15 year old son (Judah Lewis), is dating the boss of the company (C.J. Wilson) and has her own issues, but hey, no one is perfect. Maybe one day these two will meet. Davis, a grieving man, and Karen, a lost soul. But that might be too hokey and romance like. Fuck romance, this is about losing a loved one not finding one.
Yes, in demolition we get to see a guy demolish shit. The title isn’t just a metaphor!
Jake Gyllenhaal plays an unstable character? Check. Jake Gyllenhaal acts really well? Check. Jake Gyllenhaal takes his shirt off? Check check check.
Like usual, Gyllenhaal delivers. He gives us a quirky dude who the audience will cheer for and hope for the best. But this is a comedy/drama. Things aren’t going to just be happy. Jesus, his wife just died. He needs to let it out and grieve and do something to honor her in his own way. He is worth the price of admission.
As for this film, it is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who more recently directed Wild and Dallas Buyers Club. Those were nominated for Oscars, but I don’t see this film getting any nods. The film, despite tear educing and funny, just didn’t have enough closure. Closure in both the actual plot, and the side plot involving Watts.
Watts felt really underused for this role. It deserved to be something bigger or better. She was just wasted for the small role, given her more recent success as an Oscar nominated actress. Oh well.
Did I mention we get to see Gyllenhaal dance and lose his mind? That’s fun.