You can always count on Jake Gyllenhaal to star in something different, interesting and kinda quirky. He's really found his niche in recent times, whether it's his frequent collaborations with Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy) or the amazing, captivating performance he gave in Nightcrawler where he was robbed of an Oscar nomination (I'm still not over it).
Gyllenhaal delivers another fantastic performance that really grows and evolves with the film. I have a few issues with the character he plays (more on that later), but Gyllenhaal's performance is fifty shades of fantastic. Naomi Watts is brilliant also.
My main issue with the film doesn't stem from any one performance or technical aspect; most of those are solid if not great. No, it concerns the central concept at its core; Gyllenhaal's character coping with the loss of his wife and how he then learns to move on from that loss. Does anyone, or has anyone, ever grieved in this way? Maybe I'm reading into this a little too much, but I don't think anyone actually grieves like this. Sure they might metaphorically tear up their life and start afresh, but do they literally demolish everything they own? Do they bulldoze their own house?
Again, I'm probably reading into this a little much, but it's like they took that core idea, dialled it up to a thousand and lost something along the way. Davis swings between two extremes; cold and distant and ecstatic and driven. The spectrum was simply too wide for me to connect with Davis on a personal level 100% of the time; there are moments where your heart aches for him and others where you wonder if he's going to snap and kill someone. The screenplay (and maybe a touch of Gyllenhaal's performance) steers the character just a touch too close to psychotic at times - maybe that's the point, but it didn't work for me if it is.
Demolition is the kind of movie that will no doubt open up with repeat viewings and affect audiences differently depending on how much Davis' situation resonates with them on a personal level. There are moments of intense sadness and quiet humour, contrasted against some oddly exacerbated character choices.
The Verdict: 6.5/10
Demolition is currently screening at the Revelation Perth International Film Festival. It receives a wider release across Australia on July 21.