When folks like us write the Most Anticipated Films Of 2015 features a lot of it is driven by curiosity when a film is a bit more amorphous (i.e. not an obvious summer blockbuster). Is it an Oscar player? Just a solid thriller? Should we expect it on the fall film festival circuit? Is it something that lands in the smart spring season where a lot of the our favorite indies tend to land?
Well, it looks like we just gleaned a bit more about Jean Marc Vallee’s “Demolition” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts. Vallee’s been in Hollywood for some time now, but he’s been in high demand from Hollywood’s A-list ever since he helped score Academy Awards for the two male leads of “Dallas Buyers Club” (Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto). Vallee’s follow-up film, “Wild,” wasn’t as strong as an Oscar player last year, but it still earned Reese Witherspoon an Oscar nomination for her dramatic comeback role.
So what of “Demolition,” about an investment banker (Gyllenhaal) who spirals out of control following the tragic death of his wife forms a bond with an unconventional pot-smoking single mother (Watts)? Well, according to Fox Searchlight, who just unveiled its release date, it’s not going to to play out during awards season. In fact, it won’t even come out this year theatrically at all: Searchlight has dated the film for April 8, 2016. While that could seem disappointing for some, awards aren’t everything of course and as mentioned, the spring has become a terrific season for quality indie films with depth, quirks and emphasis on character (look at the riches from last year, “Locke,” “Under The Skin,” “Only Lovers Left Alive,” “The Double”). So if “Demolition” is of that ilk, it’s hopefully something worth celebrating. Here’s the longform synopsis:
Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), a successful investment banker, struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father in law Phil (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 form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son Chris (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.
And don’t think this doesn’t mean we won’t see the film at the upcoming fall film festival regardless. Fox Searchlight debuted “Belle” at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2013 and the period drama was released the following Spring in 2014, so it’s very possible it could follow that model. Plus Vallee is homegrown, a French Canadian, so we’d still earmark TIFF as a good bet. But it may mean you’re waiting a little longer than expected for an official trailer. “Demolition” also co-stars Chris Cooper, Heather Lind, and newcomer Judah Lewis but otherwise seems to have a small cast. More when we have it.