Sideswiped by the loss of his wife, Jake Gyllenhaal’s Wall Street banker takes a sledgehammer to his life in Demolition, smashing up pricey objects with methodical fury as a way of coping with his grief.
Director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) and screenwriter Bryan Sipe are similarly heavy handed, bashing us over the head with symbol and metaphor long after we’ve grasped the point they’re trying to make. We get it. Protagonist Davis Mitchell has to take apart his life of empty privilege before he can put himself together.
Gyllenhaal, though, does a very impressive job as the bereaved broker, overcoming the script’s contrivances to convince us of his character’s emotional journey out of numbness. He gets excellent support, too, from Naomi Watts as the pot-smoking single mother to whom he reaches out and from Judah Lewis, a real find, as her sexually confused teenage son.
Certificate 15. Runtime 101 mins. Director Jean-Marc Vallée