Four people’s lives are randomly entwined on New Year’s Eve after they all attempt suicide off the same building. Jess (Imogen Poots – Need For Speed), a wayward teen with emotional problems joins a pizza delivery man named J.J. (Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad), Maureen (Toni Collette – Muriel’s Wedding), a stay at home mum and Breakfast TV celebrity Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan – Goldeneye) at the top of the tower. They don’t jump and instead, reluctantly, form a dysfunctional surrogate family to help one another out with life’s difficulties. But soon the media get wind of their pact and it changes everything.
Adapted from the Nick Hornby book, A Long Way Down has plenty of good ideas and intentions but it just doesn’t come together. It results in a mess of a movie that squanders its fine set-up and leaves you non-fussed and completely detached from a story that should have had the complete opposite effect.
Pierce Brosnan steals his scenes as a disgraced breakfast TV personality and it’s nice to see him tackle something altogether different. He tries to hold the film together but the weak character development sweeps over everyone and there’s little he can do about it towards the end. Toni Collette always delights onscreen and she has some good moments but it’s Rosamund Pike that shines the brightest in a sparkling cameo role.
Aaron Paul once again gets a rough deal with a thin character he can do little with. He deserves a much tighter script as does his Need For Speed co-star Imogen Poots who is wasted yet again. Poots and Paul do share a good chemistry but it’s constantly tested by a poor script and weak characterisation.
A Long Way Down should have made for a good film but Hornby’s story veers wildly off course and forgets to engage its audience. The film raises some very pertinent questions about life and the struggles we face on a daily basis. It shines a light onto the situations that tragically cause people to contemplate suicide but it handles the aftermath with an ambivalence that’s slightly worrying. It’s a real shame because something’s distinctly lacking in this emotional dramedy.