Ben Oliver

Banner image for Demolition


There was love there. I just didn’t take care of it.
30 April 2016

Spoliers Ahead

A man (Jake Gyllenhaal) feels the urge to literally take things apart following the death of his wife. He knocks his house down, stuff at his office… and as a result - uh oh - his life.

This is almost like a gloomy version of Office Space - a man has a revelation that leads to his becoming more honest with himself and the people around him. With that comes a certain sense of liberation.

Of course Demolition takes itself far more seriously than that. The ‘revelation’ is the death of a loved one. It’s primarily about grief, but also about trying to understand relationships and marriage.

It’s also for the most part a load of heavy handed metaphors that build to nothing. The ending comes as a pay-off to a scene earlier in the film, but the set-up to it is so cleanly divorced from the rest of the plot that it feels like an after thought.

Gyllenhaal is good in the role though, and is well supported by Chris Cooper as the father-in-law and Naomi Watts as his potential new love interest. It’s sad to see their talents go to waste.

Demolition is a clumsy and contrived drama barely propped up by its stellar cast.

Reply by email