Demolition review: Rebuilding a shattered life
Demolition, the new comedy drama from Wild and Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallee, is a departure from the hackneyed Hollywood tropes of grief for anti hero, Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal). Widowed after a car accident killed his wife Julia (Heather Lind), the young banker is left with a numbness he can't shake.
He's not just numb about his high-flying job at the bank, where his father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper) also happens to be the boss, he's also indifferent to Julia's death and unmoved by his colleagues and loved ones' needs for him to heal. The only person who penetrates his apathetic exterior is Karen (Naomi Watts).
As a representative for a vending machine company, Karen receives a letter of complaint from Davis about the machine in the hospital which gobbled his money, but didn't give him his goods on the night of his wife's death.
Soon, Davis becomes entwined in Karen's life and that of her troubled teenage son Chris (Judah Lewis). Davis reverts to more extreme tactics to feel again and, with the help of Karen and Chris, to rebuild his life and unlock the struggles Chris is going through.