Friday, 6 May 2016

'Demolition' Review




Jake Gyllenhaal has really been on quite a hot streak in recent years, with huge success coming from his appearances in 'Nightcrawler' and 'Southpaw'. One of Hollywood's hottest actors right now who seems like he can do no wrong. Unfortunately for the talented Gyllenhaal, his latest film 'Demolition' isn't one to be held at the same standard.


Gyllenhaal plays Davis Mitchell, a banker who goes through the same routine every day until he is in a tragic car accident. Mitchell loses his wife in this accident and the story progresses from there. However the character is strangely unmoved from the death and returns to his daily life as if nothing had happened. He acts rude and obnoxious to his in laws whenever they try to do something for the memory of their recently deceased daughter. In fact, he is more bothered by the faulty hospital vending machine than his tragic loss. Baffling. The vending machine situation in fact upsets him to the fact that he actually writes a continuous series of letters to the company who supply the machines. Even more bizarrely, he gains contact with a customer service employee played by Naomi Watts due to this and the pair start a new and strange friendship.


Mitchell is given time off by his boss and father in law Phil- get it FIL?, the movie will make sure you get it don't worry.  Coming to think of it, the film really does dumb down a lot of parts when the point they are trying to get across is already easily understood. This allows Mitchell to become much closer with Karen Moreno (Watts) and eventually, her troubled son Chris (Judah Lewis). Davis also grows a fondness to destroying things, even paying to help destroy a random home. This leads to a bit of a meltdown where this obsession takes over his life, leading him to completely demolishing his lavish home. The relationship with Chris mixes with this as they really start to bond throughout the film, leading to some good moments throughout the movie. However, the story seemed to be setting up Mitchell and Karen becoming very close friends with both helping each other out but it ends up leaving Karen out of the film for a quite a period of the runtime. The relationship between Davis and Chris does progress quickly and leads to a discovery that does seem shoved in to add some more drama to later parts of the film.

Demolition is a fitting title as Davis does spend a lot of his free time seeing what he can disassemble. It is pretty fun getting to see him let loose and destroy his belongings. However I think that this would've been more effective had we seen the character struggle at first and then come out of his shell in a destructive rampage. It would add some feeling to it and I feel it would have more of a point to it rather than just stumbling upon it and enjoying it just for the sake of it.

The film tries to make it seem like Mitchell's father in law, Phil (Chris Cooper) seem like some sort of a bad guy in 'Demolition'. The film fails quite miserably to do so as Cooper seems to just be like how any parent would be after they lost their child, as well as if their husband was acting without a care about it. He even tries on occasions to set up some foundations for his daughters memory but needs Mitchell's signature for it. However Mitchell acts completely disrespectful to this and although there is dark humour present, it is very hard to dislike the father in law. A similar thing I feel happens at the end of the film where there is a quite a big twist that is pretty heartbreaking for the character. However this does influence Mitchell to become more normal once again and do something pretty selfless. It is pretty strange regarding what the circumstance is though.


The film does deserve some credit for being pretty funny throughout the whole film. Gyllenhaal and Lewis bounce off each other pretty well together especially in the scene in which they first interact with each other. Gyllenhaal is also great alone with his one liners and quick windedness. The film is filled with humour and it is a highlight for it. The cast all work together pretty well to create this as well as some good writing at times. It's a shame that the more serious side wasn't able to recreate the same kind of magic.


Final Verdict = 

Some good moments throughout the film but not enough from an acclaimed director and a good cast. Gyllenhaal does his best but other factors let the film down.


So have you seen 'Demolition'? If so what did you think of it? Once again thank you for reading my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor