Demolition (2015)

imageJean- Marc Vallée directs Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts and Judah Lewis in this drama about a man who tears his life apart after the death of his wife.

I found myself Googling just how old Jake Gyllenhaal is after this movie. As Demolition has all the pathos, forced quirk and beats of unlikely resolution that one of those rebellious mid-life crisis dramedies they used to release every fortnight have and he just couldn’t possibly be old enough yet to fill those scuffed brogues. 35 years old apparently, so on the cusp but essentially still a bit too young to be reviving the barely buried subgenre. The script itself was from the 2007 Blacklist of best unproduced screenplays which maybe explains all the dusty 9/11 referencing and its very existence post American Beauty / Wonderboys / Up in the Air. And you cannot blame one our best method actors for wanting to graduate to the kind of lead role where 15 years ago he would have been offered the part of aloof but onlooking son or creepy neighbourhood kid. It is well made enough and finely performed enough but after the first act you feel like you’ve been on this selfish journey with these unlikely rich folk too many times and too often before. Maybe Jake should have waited another decade and then his street dancing, house smashing and letter writing petty, stock rebellions might have recovered a bit of their trangressiveness and humour. Really only some neat elliptical editing in the early half make this feel any more than stale leftover. Also a bizarre air of deep paranoia infects even the lighter daftness which robs Demolition of some much needed mirth.


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