Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper
It's normal to go into mourning after your wife dies in a car crash. But it is decidedly less conventional to begin to gleefully take things apart in order to cope with that loss. Yet that's exactly what Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) does in Jean-Marc Vallee's Demolition. A successful investment banker by day, he sleepwalks through a life he doesn't quite fit into anymore—until he discovers a penchant for deconstructing objects and demolishing buildings. A series of long-winded letters to a vending machine company's customer service department begins an unlikely, oddly-matched correspondence with a fellow troubled soul, Karen Moreno (Naomi Watts), and helps Mitchell find a connection with the world again.
Demolition is perhaps a little too leaden with metaphors and melodramatic emotional cues for the structure to sustain at times, and it isn't entirely grounded in realism either. But the film's quirk, humor, moments of raw honesty, Vallee-esque soundtrack, and Gyllenhaal's performance might just penetrate the numbness and make the audience feel something, just like Mitchell is so desperate to do by blowing things apart. Within the chaos sometimes we find ourselves.