Jean-Marc Vallee’s trademarks are front and center in this first trailer for the director’s upcoming dramedy Demolition. Like his previous Oscar-winners Dallas Buyers Club and Wild, bittersweet notes balance out the maudlin undertones, that are a natural occurrence in films that manipulate their narratives with death.
In this case, it’s the titular activity – demolition – that takes a hold of Jake Gyllenhaal’s investment banker Davis, a happy-go-lucky husband who loses his wife in a tragic car accident. Played in a strange mix of bemusement, her death provides him with a chance to reevaluate what his life means, and that can only begin when he smashes his marriage apart. Along his cathartic path he bumps up against his father-in-law (Chris Cooper) who insists he keep his head together, while making new friends in the form of Naomi Watts’ customer service representative Karen.
Touches of sadness and joy in equal measures – juxtaposing the devastation of death and happiness of new life – look to keep this flick lodged firmly in voters’ minds until ballot day. Gyllenhaal continues to go from strength to strength, revealing a softer and more comedic underbelly to his routine, with Watts making a brief appearance that will hopefully amount to more than just a romantic interest.
Demolition premieres this week during TIFF’s opening night. It’s scheduled for general release next year on April 8th, 2016.
In DEMOLITION, a successful investment banker, Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father-in-law (Chris Cooper) to pull it together, Davis continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions. Davis’ letters catch the attention of customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts) and, amidst emotional and financial burdens of her own, the two strangers form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.