Demolition provides a fresh change of pace for 2016 film


Julia Labban

On April 8th, the new drama film Demolition was released to the public. The movie revolves around investment banker Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) and customer service clerk Karen Moreno (Naomi Watts) as they build a relationship that starts with a single complaint letter. Mitchell shamelessly bares his innermost secrets to his new-found friend by first detailing the events surrounding his issue with a specific machine that belongs to Champion Vending Co., the business where Moreno is employed, including the recent death of his wife. As his life spirals out of control, Mitchell looks to Moreno and her son Chris (Judah Lewis) to be his listeners, and more importantly, his friends in his time of need. Mitchell’s emotional episodes land him in trouble at work as well as his personal life until he decides to take apart his life, literally and figuratively, hoping he can piece everything back together.

The film had many aspects of merit, especially the realistic dialogue and plot direction. The dialogue in the film stays true to real life, revealing the true emotion and pain that Mitchell goes through in his grieving process. One particular scene that stands out is the discussion between Chris and Davis over the proper usage of the F-bomb. David explains that over-using the word makes it lose it’s meaning, and throughout the rest of the film, Chris sprinkles in a few versions of the profanity, looking to Davis for approval. Another unapologetic scene is the discussion over whether Chris is gay, which is especially interesting due to the freedom that the writers gave to the character. Rather than using stereotypes to make it obvious to the audience, the film allows Chris to develop onscreen in his own unique way. The plot direction is also realistic, as the “perfect happy ending” never comes. There are still things that Davis needs to work out at the end of the film, and the cheesy “friends to lovers” plot line is completely ignored as there is never a romantic interaction between Moreno and Davis. These elements provide a fresh, stark difference from most drama films.

While the film was widely approved by some, many others had issues because they felt the film lacked direction and substance. Many could argue that this is true to a degree. It’s definitely an acquired taste and is different from most films that have been released this year. To put it bluntly, the movie isn’t for everyone. Someone who likes strict, concise plot direction and scenes filled with dramatic proclamations probably wouldn’t like this film. Much of the film is open ended and lacks the typical progression that most people would expect. The audience may find themselves almost lost within the fogginess of the film, which is great for some but boring for others. The film also lacked good marketing. The commercials for it weren’t released in some areas until the week of the premier, making its box office numbers seem flat for the opening week. Most people probably haven’t even heard of this film yet, as there was not a lot of marketing associated with it. The reception for the movie has been poor to average when it comes to critics, but many audience members thought otherwise. The mixed reviews may lead audiences away from the film, but for those who appreciate the type of plot that Demolition has to offer, there won’t be disappointment.

Although the film hasn’t received the best reviews, Demolition is filled with unique elements that will attract the right audience. Its realism within dialogue and plot are a refreshing change of pace from the average movie, distinguishing it from other 2016 releases. The movie did have some setbacks, such as poor marketing, but overall it’s a captivating find that will engross many audiences. It is definitely recommended for those who wish to view something unique this year.

4/5 Stars