Bless Jake Gyllenhaal and his little cotton socks, for the man sure puts himself through the paces for his roles. This year alone, he ascended to Mount Everest’s base camp to film Everest, and he got into welterweight shape for Southpaw. The latter film was supposed to put him on the Oscar map (body transformation, natch), but reviews indicate that something went amiss.
Gyllenhaal will persevere, and this Demolition trailer has all the ingredients for Academy gold. Director Jean-Marc Vallee specializes in guiding tragic yet life-affirming stories (Dallas Buyers Club, Wild), and the trend continues here. Demolition sees Gyllenhaal as a widower who finds guidance through a malfunctioning vending machine, which leads him to reexamine his marriage and life itself. Cue feel-good music and Gyllenhaal taking a sledgehammer to the very fabric of his character’s existence. You gotta tear it down to build it back up, right?
Exactly. Gyllenhaal’s character actually says, “If you want to fix something, you have to take everything apart and figure out what’s important.” Here’s the official synopsis:
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.
Demolition doesn’t hit theaters until April 2016 but should position Gyllenhaal nicely for acclaim. This is an odd release date for what looks like a prestige picture, but surely, Fox Searchlight Pictures possesses a strategic plan.