Review: A Long Way Down (2014)

Cinema poster for A Long Way Down.
Cinema poster for A Long Way Down.

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would tune into a film which starts with four people contemplating suicide – but this is exactly how A Long Way Down begins. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots and Aaron Paul this comedy-drama is based on Nick Hornby’s novel of the same name. The only trouble is that at its very worse some of the scenes in this film don’t just feel like they’re straight from the book, they feel like they’re being read from the book out loud as well.

I’ll be honest I enjoyed it. At 96 minutes long this film is certainly one that you can pass the time with. Divided into four sections that concentrate on the story from each character’s angles, we follow the Topper Four, from New Year’s Eve to Valentine’s Day as they all keep the pact that they won’t commit suicide until Valentine’s Day – if at all.

All four characters have their own features. Brosnan is good if slightly unbelievable in a half hearted attempt at a mockney accent as disgraced TV presenter Martin Sharp, whilst Poots proves she is still only playing one character type as insensitive yet astute teen Jess. Perhaps the most developed character throughout the whole story is that of JJ (Paul) who immediately sets himself for a collision course with his new friends by claiming the reason he was attempting suicide was the fact that he had inoperable cancer, when in fact it was just quite movingly that he was simply disillusioned with life.

In all of the sections, throughout all of the plot however there is one character who cannot be underestimated. Whilst sometimes delivering her lines in the most matter of fact, sometimes stilted of manners, Maureen (Collette) is the glue that holds these characters together through her innocent, caring nature. Therefore it is almost fitting that whilst the plot begins with a heavy focus on Martin and Jess, the story is brought together to a fitting, if not somewhat predictable conclusion by Maureen and JJ.

In short if you are looking for a thoughtful somewhat humorous film, that requires minimal thought and attention on your part then this is it. A definite ensemble piece, whilst I wouldn’t rush to buy this on DVD when released, I would definitely watch this when it’s on television.

Nutleyone rating: 6/10

A Long Way Down was released on March 21st and has been released nationally across the UK.