TIFF 2015 – “Demolition”


A Writing Craft Review of the  screenplay written by Bryan Sipe for”Demolition”
                                                                                   directed by Jean-Marc Vallée 

(These are snap judgements devoid of plot summaries and prone to spoilers)                                                                 rating 3 out of 5

Demolition” is a very professional rendition of what is essentially a television plot unredeemed by a deeper exploration of motivations into the phases of grief transited by David, a young financier, very compellingly portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal. The interweaving of present experience with memory shrapnel from his flawed marriage and the shared accident that killed his wife was particularly well handled.

Unfortunately these time shifts of past into the present are all taken from surface experience-what is seen and heard-and so never provide elements of internal experience that might reveal the motivations for characters’ actions. The audience has to guess at such basic questions as why David transitions from taking things apart to destroying them or why a young friends coming out and being assaulted is transformative for David. Leaving the audience guessing is fine if it is adds something more than it retracts. Nothing about this script indicates this vacancy is a positive writing craft decision.

Good line: For some reason everything has become metaphor.