DVD Review: ‘Demolition’

Review by Monique Thompson

Grieving investment banker Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) returns to work after losing his beloved wife in a tragic car accident. After writing a letter to complain about a vending machine, Mitchell receives a phone call from Karen (Naomi Watts), a customer service rep from the company. Karen becomes moved by his complete honesty, while Davis finds someone to lend a sympathetic ear. As his new friendship with Karen and her son grows, Mitchell finds the strength he needs to rebuild his life.

Here’s to being destructive and getting paid for it! That’s exactly what Jake Gyllenhaal has done in his new role channeling Davis Mitchell in Jean-Marc Vallée’s latest film Demolition. After tragically losing his wife, Davis grieves in one of the strangest ways possible, by becoming destructive and taking things apart.

While at the hospital immediately following his wife’s (Heather Lind) death, Davis attempts to make a purchase at one of the vending machines, only for the item to get stuck. After a couple days have passed, Davis decides to vent his frustrations about his wife’s death and not getting his item from their machine to the vending company. One letter turns into two more, which eventually turns into a late night phone call from their customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts). These two build a very weird friendship and begin to spend a lot of time together, as Karen feels sorry for Davis during this hard time. Karen also is dealing with her troubled adolescent son Chris who keeps getting kicked out of school and is battling with identity issues.

Graduating from taking apart small electronics, Mitchell upgrades to the big leagues and at a point starts to totally demolish his lavished home, with help from Karen’s son. Although he’s getting temporary emotional relief from channeling his inner demolition man, Mitchell still struggles with the loss of his wife, especially after a secret is exposed.

There’s no doubt Demolition has a pretty stellar cast with veterans. However though, is the film as stellar…probably not. While it’s no total dud, Demolition is a little dark and weird with moments of dark comedy. The basis of the film is the tragic death of Davis’ wife, yet there really isn’t much grieving, except from her parents (played by Chris Cooper & Polly Draper). There’s even a scene where Gyllenhaal seems to be crying while grieving, but breaks out in laughter. Demolition won’t be a tear jerker but is kind of one of those films that’s all over the place, pretty much like the emotional state of Davis Mitchell.

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