Sunday, April 10, 2016


      Even a fine acting turn by Jake Gyllenhaal cant save this metaphorical mess of a film. Mr. Gyllenhaal plays Davis, living comfortably numb as an investment banker working for his father-in-law, played by Chris Cooper. When his wife dies in a car accident (no spoiler, it happens minutes into the film and is the catalyst for the plot), Davis is forced to face his cold existence, find his emotional center and learn to live again. This is serious stuff.

        Davis begins to take everyday things apart. He starts small but eventually, rather than just take them apart, he actively begins to demolish things in his life. Only by breaking everything down, does he think he can start to put things back together...we get it...literally and often. 

        Finding an unusual outlet for his buried feelings, Davis expresses his thoughts in letters to  a vending machine company when his candy gets stuck in a machine at the hospital. Naomi Watts plays Karen, the customer service rep at the company that is moved enough by his letters that she reaches out to him. Karen is, of course, living her own numb existence with a brutish boyfriend and her troubled 15 year old son, Chris.

        Karen, Davis and Chris begin an odd friendship. There are some interesting twists, especially in the third act but they can't disguise the plot holes or the irrational path the film takes to reach it's conclusion. Plot threads dangle and some strain credibility. The film tries so hard to express itself, it collapses under it's own weight just like it's protagonist.

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