Hello Everyone, Janet W. here…
Demolition, a comedic drama, begins with a man, Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal), who loses his wife, Julia (Heather Lind), within the opening scenes. When I initially was given this assignment, I wondered, “How could a tragedy be made well into a comedy?” I will say that Jean-Marc Vallée held it together.
Before this tragedy, Davis discovers he was numb to life in general. Davis’ grieving process starts its journey with…no, not the river in Egypt, but you guessed it, denial. I will say the ride that follows is a novel take on one of the most character building obstacle courses that life has to offer, loss. Some people become complete shut-ins or shutdown when they experience loss. Davis busts out and, literally, breaks through (walls, refrigerators, etc.) the pain. The dismemberment and unraveling moves like a tidal wave through every area of Davis’ life.
This is a twisted and raw depiction of grief no wonder they got Gyllenhaal. This man can bring every kind of crazy, traumatic, and demented personality there is to the screen. I first saw Gyllenhaal in Donnie Darko, which is really all the proof we need, but we’ve also seen the flipsides in Bubble Boy, The Day After Tomorrow, Brokeback Mountain (almost ruined my enjoyment of his handsomeness), Jarhead, and Nightcrawler. Demolition has a similar feel to Jarhead and Nightcrawler as well as the Vallée’s big hit, Dallas Buyers Club.
Although, I was impressed by Judah Lewis’ performance as Chris Moreno, and I say this with respect for people of different beliefs than mine, I question the decision to expose or represent a nine year old as going through a process of sexual identification. A child of that age should not be concerned with the awkward discovery of sexuality, but only in having fun and learning. Allow kids to be kids. I’m not saying that today’s youth doesn’t race to grow up too soon, but let’s not help them. Demolition exposes such horror for this little one to endure just to keep towing the line of integrating “the other” into media. Shouldn’t there be some places we protect or keep the children safe from? I know we live in a culture that says all is permissible, but at some point people need to see the effects of such negligence. Not to mention the fact this little sideline distracts the viewer from the main plot line (comes right out of left field). Anyway, I digress; Lewis’ performance was shocking, but skillful. He has the makings of a solid actor. I hope to enjoy his work in the coming years.
Overall, Demolition is shot well and the score was excellent. The theme of treasuring who and what you have, because it can be taken from you in an instant rings true. However, some parts were irrational in their content such as throwing a sledgehammer through an oven or the experience of underage target practice. This film screamed for the need to protect children from themselves and society’s current state of mind. It is a good thing this film is R rated. One highly enjoyable moment and superb piece of dialogue is the explanation of the value of the F word. Due to this admiration, I must include a quote on what happens when you overuse a cuss word, “See, I feel nothing and you sound like an idiot.”
That along with a lot of other laughs made Demolition a funny film. This film, like I said earlier, is raw, raw emotion and raw (aka vulgar and no holds barred) language, so warning this not family friendly and really twisted. I did enjoy the film for its unapologetic honesty. I just don’t see why they had to do what was done to that little kid. Also, the viewer is left hanging without a few plot holes too. Demolition doesn’t seem the start of a trilogy or series, so the cliffhanger, incomplete script, or whatever will leave the viewer heavy and somewhat frustrated. View at your own risk!
Interesting, warped fun!
– Janet L. White