Thursday, July 28, 2016

[Review] Demolition

Director Jean-Marc Vallée has been on a solid roll with Oscar-contending films like Dallas Buyers Club and Wild, each one containing excellent lead performances from Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, respectively. Another person bringing the goods is Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners, Enemy, Nightcrawler). So this is a perfect match, right? Well, Demolition has plenty of room for Gyllenhaal to work in, but the rest of the film comes up short.

Davis (Gyllenhaal) is a successful investment banker, who is involved in a car accident that kills his wife Julie. And the guy just can't bring himself to feel anything. While all his acquaintances are shedding tears, he acts as if nothing happened. On the surface, he appears to be cold and unsympathetic, but as the film unfolds, it becomes clear that his non-grieving is a form of grieving.

His focus shifts toward seemingly trivial things, like, writing in-depth letters (which double as the film's voiceover narration) to a vending machine company concerning his Peanut M&M's that got stuck. Anyway, Davis forms a friendly relationship with the customer service employee on the other end (Naomi Watts). And he also becomes fixated with disassembling every object in his life--clocks, computers, TVs... his entire house. (Cue the metaphors.)

Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts are both really good with what they're given, but the performances aren't enough to overcome the repetitiveness of the bland tone and underwhelming story. There comes a point about midway through the duration where it's just difficult to care about where any of this is going. The film isn't searing enough to be a dark comedy. It isn't unconventional or ironic enough to be a subversive character study. And it isn't emotional enough to be a moving redemption story, which is where the film ultimately attempts to end up, but crumbles in the process.

( 6/10 )

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  1. Totally agree! Gave it a 6.00 out of 10 as well. Too bad, as I expected another "Nightcrawler".. :)

    1. Yep, good performances, but just kinda boring.