Jake Gyllenhaal on the Demolition Red Carpet

Despite its prestigious, high-profile slot and all of the attendant red-carpet-and-paparazzi hoo-hah that comes with it, the first film out of the gate is usually forgotten as quickly as Day 2 rolls along and the real jockeying for end-of-the-year buzz begins. TIFF likes to kick off with a feature from a Canadian director, and Vallee (“Dallas Buyer’s Club”) is a native of Montreal. There are some bright spots in the film to be found, mostly owed to Gyllenhaal’s manic performance and the relationship between Davis and Moreno’s son, with Lewis delivering a promising turn as a troubled teen.


Demolition is in theaters April 8, 2016. With a tragedy like losing a spouse, it’s hard to say what’s the right or wrong way to grieve.

Then there’s Davis’ fascination with dismantling things. He’s trying to literally smash and tear apart his old life in order to forget it and move on.

Gyllenhaal said it was a process to work out how his character feels about his loss, compared to what society expects.

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.

That said, all of Davis’ changes of course do not sit well with his former father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper). Gyllenhaal’s character becomes obsessed with deconstructing objects and demolishing buildings, leading to the film’s title. It’s tough to see how such a miscalculated effort could come from this duo, and it’s all the more frustrating when brief moments of inspiration arrive.

Rachel Weisz didn’t know Colin Farrell until they worked together on “The Lobster” – but she had admired him from afar. “I just didn’t take care of it”. And it did survive, i.e., I was kept engaged in the story even as it dogpaddled and stalled for a time in the early going, and even as I wondered why on earth a young Spanish girl in Berlin (Laia Costa) would fall in with four drunken louts even if she has been out nightclubbing until 4 in the morning. We will work for union scale. Directed by none other than Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon, the adaptation of the wildly popular (originally self-published) novel by Andy Weir, which finds a lone astronaut stranded on Mars and the desperate measures NASA employs to try and save him, is a singular big ticket. But that, too, is ultimately hindered by the fact that Davis is a careless, unstable guy who the film thinks is a quirky good-guy-in-the-making.


As the party broke off into different tentacles – with many people using both hands to hold saucer-sized glasses of Grey Goose Le Citron with a pinch of basil – we noticed that Gyllenhaal’s first and last check-in at the party was with his agent, Patrick Whitesell. He’s like a child who asks “Why?” over and over again. Hey, love it or leave it, pal! There was a banquette, and a pillar of sorts, separating him and Gyllenhaal, in this restaurant where paella is usually in motion, the lighting is Streisand-worthy and a fabulous embroidered mosaic drapes much of the back. The Danish drama “Land of Mine”, which will make its world premiere on Thursday as part of another new sidebar called Platform, tells a little-known story about German prisoners conscripted into defusing land mines after the war that one could easily imagine as a tasteful series on HBO or PBS.

Demolition Toronto International Film Festival