Some moviegoers may remember Jake Gyllenhaal from his early leading roles in films like October Sky and Donnie Darko back in the late 1990s/early 2000s. However, in the past decade, the actor has delivered some of the finest work of his career, including an Oscar-nominated supporting turn in Brokeback Mountain and memorable performances in films like End of Watch, Prisoners and Nightcrawler.
In his next film, Demolition, Gyllenhaal plays recent widower Davis Mitchell, who is struggling to cope with his wife’s death in a fatal car accident. Now fans have finally gotten a better idea of what the actor has in store this time.
Fox Searchlight has just released a new trailer for Demolition (see above), and the film certainly looks like it will be another in-depth character study for director Jean-Marc Vallée, following Dallas Buyers Club and Wild. Both of those films earned Oscar recognition for their respective casts, meaning that Gyllenhaal could finally earn his second chance for the gold if Demolition lives up to Vallée’s recent track record. After all, many fans and critics maintain that he was robbed of a nomination last year for Nightcrawler, and this could be the Academy’s way to make up for past mistakes.
Here is the official synopsis for Demolition:
Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), a successful investment banker, struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father in law Phil (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 form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son Chris (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.
In any case, there’s a lot of juicy material in Demolition for the director and his cast to delve into. Moreover, the film’s tone looks like it’s going for a melancholic tragedy, which could keep it from drowning in its own subject matter. The premise of a man deconstructing his life and marriage (literally, at times) could be a strong theme that carries the film through to some very emotionally resonant terrain.
Even better, the fact that the film has assembled a strong supporting cast bodes well for its chances at success, even if its material isn’t as rich as it appears in the trailer. Naomi Watts and Chris Cooper are, of course, celebrated performers in their own right, and Heather Lind appears to be a budding talent on the cusp of breaking out on the big screen. If Demolition ends up using them all effectively, the film could prove worthwhile – though screenwriter Bryan Sipe remains largely unproven so far. Regardless, this could be one to watch for fans of character-driven dramas.
Demolition hits select theaters on April 8, 2016.
Source: Fox Searchlight