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A Long Way Down

Check out Howard's latest film review A Long Way Down directed by Pascal Chaumeil.  

Cert (UK): 15

Runtime: 96 mins

Director: Pascal Chaumeil                                                  

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, Tuppence Middleton, Rosamund Pike, Sam Neill

Rating  *     

Well here it is…. the first complete duffer of a film I have seen this year, a bouncy, inconsequential “comedy” about four people who all meet at the point of committing suicide.

The movie is an adaptation of Nick Hornby’s 2005 novel which I have not read, but if Pascal Chaumeil’s interpretation is close to the book then I would not recommend trying to catch up with it, but then Mr Hornby did somehow manage to write a whole novel about supporting Arsenal, so maybe there was the clue I needed before paying to watch this.

Pierce Brosnan plays Martin, a former breakfast TV host whose one nighter with a 15-year old, who apparently looked 25, has left him without a career and time in prison. Imogen Poots is Jess, the privileged daughter of a cabinet minister (Sam Neil), who has rebelled into a wayward and depressive character following the disappearance of her sister. Aaron Paul is JJ, a pizza delivery boy who has failed to make a career out of playing in various bands and who claims to be terminally ill with brain cancer. Finally, Toni Collett is Maureen, a less than glamorous single mother who has led a very sheltered life as she cares for her son suffering from cerebral palsy. 

The four of them meet up on a New Year’s Eve on the roof of a tall building in London all with the desire to jump off. Indeed it’s remarkable how easy it seems to be to just walk into high rise offices in the City and get to the roof top as this happens again later in the film. It is this lack of credibility which runs throughout the film and totally undermines it, as the four end up quickly making a pact not to commit suicide for a period of time.

Their rooftop adventure is leaked to the press and the four decide to reverse the situation by going public and becoming media celebrities as the “Toppers Tower Four”. Throughout this we discover a little background about each of the characters, as the film is divided up into sections that concentrate on each of them as the plot, such as it is, evolves. Having unleashed a media frenzy that horribly backfires the four decide to go on holiday together to the Mediterranean to get away from all of the publicity. Needless to say this has some bonding moments, but is also the precursor to more problems, particularly for JJ.

Predictably they all eventually find themselves on a rooftop once again, although quite how they manage to do this at the same time is something of a mystery and the film attempts to end on an optimistic note.

I’m not really convinced that some of the subject matter this film deals with, can be wrapped up in a comedy format and if it can then it has to be delivered with far greater creativity and a sharper cutting edge than A Long Way Down achieves. One wonders exactly what the cast make of it all, Imogen Poots gives it a go, but one can’t but help feel that Pierce Brosnan does nothing more than glide through his role and how sad it is to see Sam Neil hamming it up after his recent wonderful portrayal of the vindictive Chester Campbell in Peaky Blinders.

Give this movie a wide berth; in fact don’t waste your money on the DVD or the Sky Movie Store when it becomes available.

Written by: Howard Groves 

(A Long Way Down is available to buy on DVD and Bu-Ray)