Monday, 21 April 2014


A Long Way Down is director Pascal Chaumeil's screen adaptation of Nick Hornby's 2005 novel of the same name. The film tells the story of Martin Sharp, played by Pierce Brosnan, an ex-morning show host whose life falls apart after sleeping with a sixteen year old girl who told him she was twenty-five. After losing his family and doing a stint in prison, Martin is driven to commit suicide, deciding to jump off Toppers' House on New Years Eve. But his suicide attempt is interrupted when he runs into Toni Collette's Maureen, Aaron Paul's J.J. and Imogen Poots' Jess. After Jess 'mistakenly' over doses they all sign a pact to promise they won't kill themselves till February fourteenth.

Since he hung up his dinner jacket as James Bond, Pierce Brosnan has been coasting on pretty much the same performance. And A Long Way Down is no different. The film's first failure is asking us to find an arrogant, fame obsessed, adulterous paedophile likeable and charming. The character of Martin Sharp is painfully insufferable and difficult to relate to in anyway.

Imogen Poots' Jess is the over privileged daughter of Sam Neill's MP, Chris Chricton. Jess is driven to suicide after her sister disappears and her mental, drug taking boyfriend breaks things off. The character of Jess is, even when she is an emotional wreck driven to tears by the thought of her missing sister, unbearably annoying. You struggle to harbour any feelings other than annoyance for the girl. Toni Collette has the film's most emotional story to deal with; driven to the roof of Topper's House by loneliness and no social life, partly due to a mentally challenged son who requires 24 hour care. Maureen is the closest the film gets to a likeable character. Aaron Paul stars as J.J., a guitarist-cum pizza delivery boy, whose bands never quite managed to make it. At first he confesses to suffer from brain cancer but once this is found out to be a lie, the character's true reason to want to commit suicide is unclear. Aaron Paul's career defining role as junkie Jesse Pinkman displayed the young actor's brilliant talent. So it is a shame that his film career has been tainted by the likes of this and his recently released, Need for Speed. Although Paul's character is not as annoying as Poots' or as unlikeable as Brosnan's, he is given so little to play with that he never manage to be as likeable or relatable as Collette's.

A Long Way Down is a long way from being a good film. Chaumeil's film fails to find the right balance between drama and comedy, attempting to find the humour in suicide but failing miserably. The only thing the film manages to do is a find an awkward middle ground between the two genres. The ending can be seen coming from a mile off and concludes a story that is uninteresting and incredibly dull.


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