An emotionally desperate investment banker finds hope through a woman he meets in Chicago.
ActorsStarring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, Naomi Watts, Heather Lind, Judah Lewis, C.J. Wilson, Polly Draper, Malachy Cleary, Debra Monk, Wass Stevens, Blaire Brooks, Ben Cole, Brendan Dooling, James Colby, Alfredo Narciso
Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his wife in a car accident in the opening scene of Demolition. As his once seemingly perfect life falls apart, his behaviour becomes more and more erratic. Davis has started writing complaint letters to a vending machine company since one of their machines malfunctioned in the ICU where his wife died. In these letters he discloses personal information – irrelevant for the complaint at hand, but piquing the interest of customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts). Karen tracks him down and they connect.
Davis begins to realise that his once perfect life wasn’t all that perfect at all, as he has been sleepwalking through it for as long as he can remember. Only now is he beginning to take notice of the world around him. And to understand things better, you need to take them apart. Completely. Initially he starts to meticulously take apart things like for instance his computer screen, building up to later literally sledgehammering his old life into oblivion.
The acting is quite good – we’ve seen Jake Gyllenhaal play weird guys in movies from Donnie Darko to Enemy, and it is refreshing to see it rub off on Naomi Watts here. The real surprise though is Judah Lewis, who plays Karen’s son Chris.
Unfortunately, despite the acting and weirdness, the story itself doesn’t quite manage to really engage. The plot is very unrealistic, so you have to just get over that, but it also doesn’t quite succeed in making you care for the characters. In the end it is a quirky melodrama that takes its metaphor too far.