Review: ‘Demolition’ and the Convoluted Catharsis


The inevitability of death is perplexing for many as the appendages of reality tangle themselves along our bodies, fettering us to a life of seeming slavery. In a similar fashion, Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) attempts to avoid the awareness and comprehension of his wife’s death, Julia (Heather Lind) who perished after a tragic car accident.

Whether he is faking a sweet tooth and goes for the Peanut M&M’S® , eventually ending up writing a complaint for the vending machine company, Davis surely isn’t the type of guy managing his anger issues properly – passive aggressively responding to surrounding circumstances and finding desperation to be his only soothing answer.

Demolition Jake Gyllenhaal

As director Jean-Marc Vallée and main actor Jake Gyllenhaal discuss the downfalls of societal advancement, the motion picture becomes increasingly keen on illustrating a comical outlook of tragic consequences. To reinforce this statement, let’s consider a basic childhood image: children playing. Who would think of bureaucracy and corporate suits when playing with action figures in the mud? Similarly, David felt like a shook-up can of soda when he realized that he’s wearing a briefcase to work, sporting off everything that wasn’t really him – Davis was merely a carrier or mold for a successful investment banker. Certainly, coming to grips with $6 billion sure isn’t easy!

Reality hits hard and it’s by far a pleasant moment the one when you’re looking yourself straight in the eye or looking around yourself, spotting the intrusive elements which are dragging you further away from the true, idyllic state of experiencing your very self.

Demolition Jake Gyllenhaal

Davis needed to deconstruct everything in order for proper analysis to ensue. Demolition precisely handles this matter: demolishing old structures, creating new foundations and reassembling outdated ‘truths’, if you will.

A homogenous example is the 2001 Life as a House, the story of a man who is in search of the same catharsis as Davis is, with the main differences being 1. terminal cancer, 2. family. George Monroe (Kevin Kline), a divorcée attempts the same generic impulses of tearing down his own house with the idea of rebuilding some hope for the future.

Alas, sadly the same, repetitive background is rekindled, this time through the perspective of Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée who has previous experience in creating heartfelt imageries such as Dallas Buyers Club, C.R.A.Z.Y. and Wild.

Demolition enjoyed a considerable premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, on September 2015. The official US theater release will be on April 8th, 2016.

With all this said, the romance, symbolism of life, escapism and mourning render the upcoming movie quite promising.

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