Demolition English Movie

Feature Film | 2016 | A | Comedy, Drama
'Everybody hurts!' Sang Michael Stipes. But looks like Jake Gyllenhaal's character is unable to grieve in the 'normal way' after his wife's death and we have to watch him struggle in the most bizarre ways, until you want to slap his entitled ways and run him over with his own bulldozer 'bought on e-bay'.
Apr 7, 2016 By Manisha Lakhe

Jake Gyllenhaal is a good actor and this role of a grieving and yet not grieving husband will perhaps be one of his best. Naomi Watts makes for a wonderful sounding board for his grief and frustration that he writes down as letters. Their odd friendship is endearing and if you have weird friends who are not really 'accepted' by your family as 'friend material', you will understand why theirs is not a 'let's jump into bed immediately' kind of instant solution.

What makes this movie about grief annoying is the 'look at me, I'm so clever' treatment that is meted out to the audience. There have been many movies about characters unable to come to terms with grief, or explain the lack thereof of feelings after a death in the family. Odd to say this, but Adam Sandler in Reign Over Me does a better job. The little kid in Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close does a better job, and a small but award winning film called Remember Me makes this movie look pathetic.

The letters Jake's character Davis writes to the Customer Service is a clever device to tell us what is going through in his head. And you care for the character who is unable to cry and grieve like 'normal people' at the funeral of his wife. You know people in real life who are so absorbed by their jobs that they don't pay attention to 'everyday things' like a leaking refrigerator. But when you see Davis pretend to cry in the mirror, you want to throw something at the director and yell: we get it!

The character does not help the audience at all when he begins to literally demolish things that made up his life to get rid of the demons in his head. You went out and bought a sledgehammer to break up the home you lived in because you realised you hated it all along and did not care? You actually bought a bull-dozer to break down the home your wife built because you are grieving for her? The audience begins to lose all empathy one can feel for a character. And you begin to want to slap him real hard when he takes to dancing to rock music on the busy streets, when he lets Naomi Watts's young surly son use the gun. Even though there are moments of real softness in the film and you do understand how lonely he possibly must be because he's unable to grieve publicly, the smugness of the character and the needless destruction of what his wife built gets really annoying. And it becomes really hard to understand why a woman (his wife) who cared for kids with special needs, has parents who live in a traditional home, choose to live in a house that's all glass, all shiny chrome surfaces?

This film has an interesting premise but the offering is too pretentious to really evince empathy.

Manisha Lakhe