There's a beauty in the breakdown, and it's amongst the rubble that Davis finds himself living, rather than enduring, his life.
There is much to savor here, especially the unforced performance of Judah Lewis -- one more recruit to the terrific roster of younger actors who are streaming into the movies. Yet the film lacks the courage of its affliction.
Thank god for Jake Gyllenhaal. Absent his performance, Demolition would have been a more unbearable slog than it is.
Director Jean-Marc Vall�e doesn't seem to mind when his movies become sun-dappled insta-redemption stories so long as there's a bravura central turn holding it all down.
The best I can say is that it's another tour de force for Gyllenhaal, although his intensity isn't matched by the movie itself.
The deadpan and sometimes excruciating discomfort on display, played for laughs, calls to mind the early, emotionally subversive films of David O. Russell.
[A] manipulative downer about a widower who deals with his icy emotional numbness by literally taking a sledgehammer to his old life.
Amazingly, if awkwardly, the experiment works.
The scenario does contain a couple of unexpected stings in its tale, which almost makes the inevitable redemption payoff play a little less pat than it might have under different circumstances. But not THAT much less pat.