I sometimes do like to be surprised by films. With the internet and social media dominating so much of our lives, it’s sometimes hard not to hear of certain films in some extent. Outside of it staring Jake Gyllenhaal, I knew nothing about Demolition. I’ve become more and more of a fan of his work as time has gone on. Needless to say, I was rather looking forward to this film. During the very early moments of the film, we see Davis (Gyllenhaal) driving in a car with his wife. There’s an accident that leaves him virtually unharmed, but kills his wife. As he’s sitting in the hospital, he goes to a vending machine that rips him off. He writes a complaint letter, and this leads to multiple conversations with Karen (Naomi Watts), a customer service representative for the vending company. Eventually the two of them meet, but Karen not only has a teenage son, but also a boyfriend that she lives with. The relationships between these characters eventually grows into something more as the film progresses. We also get a small subplot in which a station wagon continues to follow Davis. We get a resolution for this before the film’s end that adds some emotional weight. There’s also a supporting role from Chris Cooper who’s Davis’s boss and the father of his late wife. He does good work here. That should come as no surprise as Cooper is almost always a reliable actor.
I started out really digging Demolition, but feel it ran out of steam before the end. It’s always hard to start a film off with a tragedy, but I was willing to accept that as the jumping off point for the film. It began with a bit of quirkiness as well, but it seems they simply ran out of ideas. The film grows tiresome as it goes along. I stopped caring so much for the Davis character and his journey over the course of the film. It’s almost as if the film doesn’t know what it wants to say. The performances are solid all across the board. Huge credit to Gyllenhaal who carries the film wonderfully. It’d be hard to imagine how the film might’ve been with a lesser actor in the lead role. There are strong elements at play here, but unfortunately, not quite enough to redeem the film’s shortcomings.
Video: How’s it look?
Fox delivers a strong transfer that excels on many levels. The house that the Davis character lives in is very modern and clean, and the transfer displays that nicely. That’s one of many examples. The print is pristine and colors nice and smooth. All in all, fans will be pleased. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.39:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS HD track is appropriate as well. It never becomes an explosive demo type track, but it’s not that kind of film. Vocals were fine, background city noise as well. Some scenes show Davis tearing up his home, so the rear channels kick in nicely there. The track works in the film’s favor.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Photo Gallery – About 20 stills from the movie are shown.
Previews – Other Fox titles are shown: A Bigger Splash, The Revenant, Wild, Birdman, Brooklyn, Mistress America, and Youth.
The Bottom Line
It starts off promising, and maintains that promise for a while, but Demolition grows tiring as it progresses. The clichés pile on and the story begins to feel aimless. Performances are all solid. I’d advise a rental at the most, but with reservations.