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Year: 2015 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: Unknown 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée 
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper  
An image from Demolition

Never one to shy away from the more challenging roles, Jake Gyllenhaal is Davis, a recently bereaved husband. On the outside, he seems aloof and barely affected by his wife’s sudden death in a car accident that he was also involved in. While bearing no outward wounds, he’s increasingly transfixed by his father-in-law’s advice – “If you want to fix something, you have to take it apart and put it back together”. He starts taking everything apart that he can lay his hands on – his fridge, his car, the office toilet door; even hiring a bulldozer to tear apart his showcase home… Jake Gyllenhaal does a very nuanced performance of a widower who, though in pain, is largely disconnected from it. The only time he acknowledges this is in increasingly detailed and brutally honest letters he writes, ostensibly to get a refund for a chocolate bar. Working for the vending machine company, Karen (Naomi Watts) reads these and touched by their contents, decides to ring him at 2 in the morning. The two form an unlikely connection, and with her help, Davis starts to rebuild his life (after first demolishing the old one). Demolition is another delicate study of the endless variety of responses to bereavement from the director of Dallas Buyer’s Club and Wild. It is a testament to Vallée’s skill as a director that in such serious and painful subject matter the film still manages to find occasional humorous moments. Definitely worth a watch.

Natalie Tyldesley-Marshall

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Screenings of this film:

2016/2017 Autumn Term (digital)