The Man Who Walked Like a Zombie and Broke Stuff

demo1Jake Gyllenhaal’s latest movie has him playing a man who recently lost his wife, so he walks through life like an uncaring zombie.  Demolition (2015) is not about the zombie apocalypse, despite Gyllenhaal’s best efforts at moping.  His wife was killed in a car accident or something, which they show on-screen as a horrifically tragic event.  She’s gorgeous, so his life’s in ruins.  Anyway, he later meets Naomi Watts, but even that doesn’t help.  I don’t get this movie.  It’s Naomi Watts dude.

Anyway, Gyllenhaal’s character slowly escalates in destructive behavior, starting with himself and household appliances, then driving a backhoe over his garden.  This movie would be as bad as any I’ve seen this year if it weren’t for Jake Gyllenhaal and that’s the truth.  Why’s he doing this movie?  It must be for Naomi Watts.  

demo2Later in the movie, we discover that Gyllenhaal’s character has been a weirdo for long before his wife died.  He can’t stop talking about his dead wife and how lonely he is.  He has flashbacks because it’s not enough to show it five or six times, there needs to be overt exposition in numerous flashbacks.  We get it, he’s unstable.  I guess these flashbacks could be some serious symbolism, but that would be giving the movie credit for being creative, which I’m not sure it deserves.  The one thing about it though, is that the plot lives on the edge, constantly threatening us with Jake’s suicidal actions.  Is that good?  I’m not sure.

I think a lot of the destructiveness is meant to be funny, but it isn’t.  This movie has jokes that try to be like Bugs hitting people over the head with a mallet, only Jake isn’t trying to get rid of a wiley coyote.  He’s seriously putting people in danger.  So that’s funny.  Jake’s driving scene is probably the best example of his suicidal actions but we don’t really care.  At least I didn’t.  I was hoping nobody got hurt.  I was wondering if he was going to cross lanes and hit a car head-on.

Overall, Gyllenhaal carries this movie, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good.  He’s got a wife and she dies, so he mopes around, trying to inspire dark humor and destroying everything in his path.  I guess that’s a movie to some people.  The only thing that works is the bonding with a young idiot kid.   I liked the kid, which is a rare accomplishment for a movie.  It’s too bad all of his other interactions are played for laughs, so there’s no reason to care about the rest of his family, much less Jake.