A Long Way Down (2014) Poster

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A nice movie that may be a bit too much criticized
Nikola Penchev11 April 2014
I went to the movie with no idea what I was about to see. Genuinely had no idea about the plot and had no expectations at all.

Given the above I loved it. While it was entertaining and had that specific British humor which I find nice, it also had some powerful moments.

At the end it made me think about the kind of problems people face in their lives without making me sad like most of the movies that cover similar topics. I'm glad I went to it. Well spent money.

I would advice the audience to just see it like I did - without even checking the plot and the actors. Not knowing what it's all about made the experience a bit better in my opinion.
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Forget the critics.
James Kenworthy22 March 2014
Before you see this, clear your mind of the negative hype. I went in to the film wanting to judge it for myself, and I have to say I had an enjoyable enough time. Its length is perfect, and I like how it tells the story. Just don't expect a realistic tale and you should have a good time. I liked how they didn't sugarcoat the actions of a character. I found Aaron Paul's character, J.J, to be very easy to relate to. In my opinion, they got a lot of things right with the topic of depression, and the comedy wasn't done offensively. It's not a light topic, but A Long Way Down shows just how many different reasons people have to be suicidal, some with no real reason at all.
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Enjoyable, respecting the mood of the book
simona gianotti13 April 2014
If you have read the novel by Nick Hornby, you will recognize the same ironic mood in the picture, where making fool of ourselves and of our small/big tragedies seems to be the only way to go on and not down. The comic hilarious side and the more dramatic one blend together without ever clashing and it is impossible not to identify oneself with the contrasting and sometimes simultaneous tendency of the characters to get depressed and to smile at life at the same time. I enjoyed the performance of all the group, especially Toni Colette who is always able to interpret her characters with such authenticity. And if you have not read the book, the movie may offer an occasion also to you to spend some enjoyable time.
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This Was A Surprise.
Matt_Layden11 December 2014
Had no idea what this film was when I decided to watch it on Netflix and was pleasantly surprised by how attached I became to the subject matter, the characters and the story.

Brosnan is a disgraced TV personalty and decides to commit suicide by jumping off the top of a building on New Year's Eve. While up there, he meets 3 other people, played by Toni Collette, Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots, all there to do the same thing. None of them commit the act and instead form a weird bond between each other. A pact is made not to commit suicide until the next "popular" suicide date, which is Valentine's Day. Dark subject matter, I know.

Despite the content of the film involving topics such as cancer, suicide, underage sex and other questionable character choices, the film balances this topics interestingly enough to keep it rather light. It never became too dark, nor too comedic. It walked a fine line of genuine trust in the characters. I found myself attached to each one, their faults, their quirks and liked them all. Imogen Poots has the hardest task of playing the "wild card" character. This character can sometimes become irritatingly annoying and I can see some people thinking her performance here is just that, but I found it oddly charming and real. She's a young girl who yearns to be loved and can't find it. She's lost, she feels alone and she turns to uncomfortable humour as a shield to hide her true feelings. I felt that her character had the most demons and she came off as the most interesting.

The film is broken up into four segments and each segment is from one of the characters POV. At first I was afraid that it was going to be one of those films that played the same event multiple times from different character perspectives, but was relieved when that was not the case.

The film fails to use the supporting cast effectively. Sam Neil is only in a few select scenes and Rosamund Pike is in one very uncomfortable one. Couldn't help but feel that their talents were slightly wasted here. I had no idea this film was based on a book, thus had nothing to hold it against. There seems to be a lot of hate towards it, but I was genuinely interested from start to finish.
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so nice
NickSkouras28 October 2014
great film!

so good to see pierce brosnan doing this kind of work

along w other films he's recently done. well done.

wow. human beings huh? life. etc. love. the lives of strangers in our own towns. apartment buildings. humanity.

if we'd only have a bit more compassion each week. a small thing here or there for another.

turn off the spirit crushing TV programming and watch some good films like this one. might do the trick. if only for a moment.

better than nothing.
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A seriously underrated brilliant film
larajayoxbo27 October 2014
This film was the most touching one I have seen in a very long time. The ratings just don't do it justice, the story line is amazing and the actors are even better, all the characters were brought to life. Everything that happened made you feel connected to the characters and they won't leave your hearts any time soon. It highlights some of the struggles that many people have to go through in society now and shows what happens when people are thrown into the spotlight. You feel a range of emotions, from being sad to happy, scared to joyous. I really enjoyed this and will be watching it many more times in the future. I would definitely recommend watching this, you'll love it.
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A nice comedy-drama about suicide.
Bo Atdrinks24 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The trailer suggested this film was a light, but moving film, about suicidal people who help each other to find a future worth living for. And so it turned out too.

Film opens with Pierce Brosnan playing TV celebrity Martin Sharp, who has decided to kill himself. This is explained by Mr Brosnan in his narration accompanying the opening action scenes. A tacky and tasteless sex-scandal, has destroyed his life and so he decides to end it. Well prepared for this, he is interrupted by Maureen, played by Toni Collette, who is on the same mission. Jess, played by Imogen Poots, is a third would-be suicide who joins them. Finally a fourth, JJ, played by Aaron Paul joins too. Their suicides being interrupted, they decide not to kill themselves, and thus our story unfolds.

The story was written by Nick Hornby, who has previously written 'Fever Pitch' and 'About a Boy', both of which have been made into films. Thus Nick Hornby, in his books, delivers a believable true-life London, as does Richard Curtis in his films like 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' (1994), 'Notting Hill' (1999), and 'About Time' from last year. The people are believable, despite the narrow social-set (excepting the obligatory, and token, American).

The attempted suicides story becomes public, a media storm ensues, made even more interesting by a connection to Chris Crichton MP. Our would-be suicides, now in a no-suicide pact, resolve to control the story, thus Martin Sharp returns to his TV sofa, along with the three others. After the interview they plan to escape the media by going on holiday.

Some critics have decided that Pierce Brosnan has become a good actor. However this reviewer has been impressed with Mr Brosnan ever since his silent, smiling, semi-naked, swimming-trunk wearing, appearance out of the swimming-pool, in 'The Long Good Friday' (1980). In this film, 'ALWD', he impresses with his early narration, and accent, throughout the film. It is not Bob Hoskins, but it is an authentic London accent. His acting too is convincing.

The other three would-be suicides also give believable performances. Young Mr Paul plays an extremely irritating character. So too does young Miss Poots. However her character also has an equal amount of sweetness too. She exudes fragility and vulnerability, thus love for her, and her love for others, is what moves along the plot. She rightly deserves her top billing. Both these young leads have a decent back-catalogue of work. So too does Miss Collette, who incidentally also appeared in the film 'About a Boy'. All three of their characters are given some back-story in this film, and these are some of the more poignant moments in the film.

Experienced Sam Neill has a small, but tasty, role. So too does Rosamund Pike, who is going to be the voice of Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward in the 'Thunderbirds Are Go! forthcoming 2015 TV series. New girl Tuppence Middleton also delivered in her small role. A good performance by her here, is surely just the first of many in the future.

Director Pascal Chaumeil delivers a good film to us. The shot of a blurry figure in a corridor, reminds of similar iconic shots; Nick Nolte, in the steam, in Chinatown, in '48HRS' (1982), or Clint Eastwood's nameless stranger, riding through the heat-haze in 'High Plains Drifter' (1973). However our blurry figure in 'ALWD' is reassuring, without being sinister too. A good shot, but merely one of many; on holiday, in the hospital, caring, or just walking with head down; all filmed and captured perfectly.

If you have seen the trailer, then you will know what to expect. This is a nice light film about a heavy subject. As such it is in fact life enhancing. Rather like last year's 'We're the Millers', this is a film about a bunch of strangers coming together, and in doing so helping each other to have better future lives. Family drama 'Papadopoulos & Sons' (2012), also showed, despite adversity, a family developing stronger bonds. 'ALWD' has a similar theme.

A feel-good movie. Enjoy the film. Enjoy life! 9/10.
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The bright side of gloom
cinematic_aficionado22 April 2014
A comedy about 4 people who are suicidal, sounds like an oxymoron doesn't it? Well, this is the issue dealt in this light hearted comedy & drama.

It was a New Year's Eve at the top of a building, the ideal suicide spot that these four individuals encountered one another. Somehow their presence provided a barrier to their urge and since they survived that night, they kept in touch and tried to encourage one another...in life.

The makers of this film must have faced a challenge in how to deal with a dramatic issue (suicide) but convey it in a semi comical tone without appearing to ridicule such a serious issue.

Thus, through the chance encounter our characters realised slowly that they have something to live for and that beauty can be found in purpose and togetherness and in that problems can be faced rather than avoided taking the easy way out.

Whilst I stand by my 'light-hearted' remark earlier, this is not to say that it is shallow. It deals with a very sombre matter but even such matters can be approached from a humorous angle.
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Watchable but not memorable
Figgy66-915-59847022 March 2014
22 March 2014 Film of Choice at The Plaza Tonight - A Long Way Down. From the best selling book by Nick Hornby (as usual unread by me), this film charts the lives for four would be suicide victims one New Year's Eve. Meeting on the roof of a building they rescue each other and form a pact to stay alive until Valentine's Day! This looked good from the trailer. Starring Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots and Aaron Paul it promised to be an amusing yet touching story of how these four completely different lives came together and although I didn't find it terribly amusing, I didn't feel I'd wasted an evening. I rather felt that I'd been reading a book that although wasn't the most gripping, was however a book I was unable to put down. It's the sort of film you would probably watch on a rainy day with a nice hot cup of cocoa. Always nice to see Pierce Brosnan on the big screen!
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Could Have Been Better
Sahl_9522 March 2014
While a story about 4 suicidal strangers meeting on a rooftop about to jump sounds interesting, this movie was not all that interesting.

There were times when scenes felt too long and equally many scenes that could and perhaps should have been longer. Some potentially interesting plot threads were brought up in a scene and hardly mentioned again (same with some characters). The emotional scenes weren't that effective either and I didn't laugh much during the movie either. The characters aren't that great either. None of them felt believable for me.

In the end, felt that the movie was predictable, cheesy and not that entertaining. The ending of the movie didn't do much to change that either. Not the best movie this year.
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good comedy/drama
blanche-218 September 2015
Pierce Brosnan stars with Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, and Aaron Paul in "A Long Way Down" from 2014.

Brosnan plays a television celebrity, Martin, who was in prison for taking up with a woman who turned out to be a girl and not 25 as he thought. He was left with nothing, no career and no family.

On New Year's Eve, he goes to a tall building, a well-known suicide place, to jump. While he's struggling with his decision to make the leap, he realizes he's not alone. Maureen (Collette) is waiting for him to finish so she can take her turn. Two other people, Jess (Poots) and JJ (Paul) show up. Popular place, popular time of year to kill oneself.

Rather than do that, the four of them decide to support one another in what they're going through. When discussing when the next big suicide day is, they decide it's probably Valentine's Day.

Martin wants to kill himself for obvious reasons, Maureen has a physically challenged son and she thinks if she kills herself, he will get better care. JJ says he has cancer. Jess has been rejected by her boyfriend.

This is a funny, warm, uplifting comedy/drama. The acting is wonderful. It was so great to see Aaron Paul again after "Breaking Bad." Imogen Poots, the fragile Jess, is gorgeous and gives a poignant performance. As an added treat, her father is played by Sam Neill. Toni Collette is always good, and her scenes with her son were especially sweet. The scene at the hospital was very touching.

You care about the characters finding their way. Highly recommended. The power of love - hard to beat it as a theme.
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Subtle underplaying
redflax22 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
This film brought, once again, into relief the differences between American and British ways of telling stories on screen. I put my hand up to the generalisation and my bias.

Spoiler In this film the characters have a scene in front of a TV day show. The event doesn't become pivotal which it often does in American movies which seem to make sacred anything with a big audience.

I thought the acting was great. Toni Collette does an excellent job portraying a dowdy frightened mother. Sam Neil is also called on to underplay his poor parenting and does that well.

Pierce Bronson presents a relatable, once again underplayed, humiliated celebrity, and doesn't hog the screen.

Another movie cultural difference is that during the fight scene there doesn't need to be a speech or some sort of reconciliation, there's just mess.

There was not a big deal made of 'why' the characters were seriously contemplating suicide. There were not problems to solve, which to me is another difference between American and British story telling. The characters unfolded themselves, flowering in subtle complexities. I loved that.
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gabrielegreco24 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
It's boring as comedy and unbelievable as drama.

I gave this movie a chance cause it was based on a Nick Hornby novel and stars Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, hoping something different that the usual USA blockbuster comedy with good feelings and unbelievable happy endings....

Well, the usual blockbuster comedy at least has a few funny jokes here and there, this movie is boring, from the start to the end. The plot is uninteresting, the scenes are too long, the photography is mediocre, the acting is just decent.

But the worst part of the movie is the ending that is so "happy" that, given the starting point of the movie, redefine the concept of "unbelievable happy ending"!
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Poots is truly great and the plot and its twists are just fine behind her performance
secondtake4 November 2014
A Long Way Down (2014)

There are a lot of films these days that set up this kind of comedy formula: an unlikely crisis forces strangers together, and they don't get along (at first). So you are dazzled by the odd circumstances, and by the funny ways people adjust. The plot then zigs and zags and eventually (of course) some or all of the main characters find their happiness. It's a good approach with the script sparkles and the acting is fun. "Chef" is a recent case, and even better is "We're the Millers."

"A Long Way Down" can't match up to those in terms of wit and sheer fun. But it has moments that click, and it has a knock out performance by one of the four leads, Imogen Poots. See it for her alone. Of course the biggest name is the former James Bond player (often voted one of the worst to take on that role), Pierce Brosnan, and he's meant to be a dull, superficial type here, so he comes through naturally. Throw in the ever talented Toni Collette and you have a good cast. (The fourth is Aaron Paul.)

The premise starts very fast, and is quite funny. In fact, I got my hopes ups that this was going to be a sizzling, truly great offbeat comedy just by the first ten minutes where it complicates quickly. You see, it's New Year's Eve and one of the four has gotten to the top of a tall London building and plans to jump. Then a second shows up and spoils his plans, and he decides to wait and let her jump so he can have the roof to himself. Then a third. And you see what is beginning to unfold.

You get some backstory details that are just enough to make you see their problems— and also see that these are all really sympathetic characters. And of course they shouldn't be suicidal, not for real. There are further ups and downs as they help and then harm each other's emotional progress. And so on.

I liked it. And I loved the performance by Poots, who just slashes through the crap and lights up the screen. Is this a brilliant movie—no. It's too much caught in the formula, so even the twists are expected. But I thought it was better than the reviews overall let on… you might give it a go. Expect some light entertainment and you might be quite happy watching.
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The trailer looked hokey but I wasn't prepared for this..
leahscheier16 June 2014
A Long Way Down is one of my favorite books and Nick Hornby one of my favorite authors. Two of his other novels have been made into fantastic big screen adaptations. So this stinker was a bit of a shock. The book is told in four alternating and distinct voices. Four very different people end up at a popular suicide spot on New Year's Eve and eventually an uneasy friendship/ alliance forms between them. It's a dark comedy, and Hornby's wit and insight bring the sad quartet to life.

Now to the movie: All of the subtlety, the dark comedy, the pathos of loss and depression is gone, replaced by a grotesque and improbable romance and painfully awful attempts at humor. Most of the characters' back-stories are glossed over or eliminated completely--- so that you have no idea what is motivating anyone. Aaron Paul's J.J., by far the most interesting in the novel, is the strangest caricature of them all. In the book he is a washed up musician, a middle-aged man at the end of his career, with no prospects on the horizon. You understand J.J.'s frustration and also his inability to convey his depression to his fellows. In the movie, it's not clear what his problem is at all. So instead of character development, the writers just have him make googly eyes at the 18 year old Jess character. Urghhhh. I suppose they think that this is okay because the actor is youngish (washed up musician at 24?) so there's less ick factor.

Toni Collete tries really hard, as does Pierce Brosnan. Unfortunately the writers just didn't give them anything to work with.

And Imogene Poots wanted to make me claw my eyes out. Did she take acting lessons from Hermione Granger? Because she delivered her lines like a young Hermione on cocaine. I've never seen such over-the-top facial contortions in my life. She appeared to be getting repeated electric shots. Imogene, when the director says: "more emotion" it does NOT mean OPEN YOUR MOUTH WIDER.

I can't begin to imagine Hornby's reaction to this disaster of a film.
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Emotional drama with a touch of comedy! 6/10
leonblackwood27 July 2014
Review: I quite enjoyed this witty drama which has something for everyone. On one side it's a deep drama because the 4 characters all have there own reasons to commit suicide but on the other side it's a enjoyable comedy because they all end up coming together and help each other through there individual problems. The fact they the 4 different characters end up on the roof on New Years Eve at exactly the same time was a bit weird, but each actor was very realistic and they really showed emotion. The chemistry between the characters was great and the director put the storyline together well but I do think that the movie could have been a bit better if there was a bit more depth to Pierce Brosnan's character. Enjoyable!

Round-Up: Since Pierce Brosnan has hanged up his Bond suit, he has starred in a wide range of movies which. From singing in Mamma Mia, which was a total shock, to The Matador and Seraphim Falls, he has proved that he hasn't become type casted like many other actors in Hollywood. Aaron Paul comes fresh from Breaking Bad and has starred in Need For Speed which also stars Imogen Poots as his love interest. His acting style is very limited but it works in the roles that he has picked since Breaking Bad. Hopefully he will flourish in his next roles. Toni Collette is one of those actors that can take on any role that gets put in front of her. After her famous role in Muriel's Wedding, she has gone from strength to strength and I can't see this role damaging her career because she had the most emotional storyline to deal with. Basically, all of the actors put in a great performance and it was great to see Sam Neill back on the big screen.

Budget: N/A Worldwide Gross: $7million

I recommend this movie to people who are into there emotional comedic dramas about 4 individuals who have there own reason to commit suicide. 6/10
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More British films like this are needed
Matt. E. Hudson28 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
*** Possible spoilers below, but I will try and keep this from giving anything away *** If you really want to see a more genuine, enjoyable, honest and endearing film then 'An Long Way Down' fits the bill. From the moment I saw the trailer for this film it was on my top list of films to see this month.

With a fabulous cast that are not only funny and a joy to watch, considering the material the films story line deals with, but have great chemistry together, you felt compelled to be a friend to one of if not all of the main four characters.

It's rare treat for a film to genuinely make you laugh out loud, to something that isn't trying hard for a laugh and strikes that right balance to make you feel those moments that will tug on you.

Forget what the critics have said, it is clear they didn't look at this film with the right frame of mind and only had one idea of what they wanted from this movie... and with that notion in mind this would only disappoint them.

Many British films seldom deserve the accolade of best British film of the year... but right here is deserving contender. In a British scene that is deluged in bad gangster films, council estate based dramas that depress and uninspiring period dramas; thanks heavens there is a wonderfully delicious and grown-up gem of a film here that has a little fun along the way.

*** Spoilers *** The performances of Brosnan, Collette, Paul and Poots, are thoroughly enjoyable, brave, convincing and take you in with each part of the film that is attributed to their cog in the overall machine of the story, the fluidty of how this is driven works extremely well and spares us the usual pitfall of most film makers who rely on random flashbacks; no flashbacks here, the story bounds along with pace and thoughtfulness all in the right places.

If there is anything to complain about... and trust me there is very little, is that I'm left wanting even more, to see more about the lives that are shared in the film, but to me this is a positive too... to want more out of a film is to feel you have met four great friends that you would like to see again.

I highly recommend 'A Long Way Down' to anyone. British film industry take note... more films like this please.
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Waste of time
Darina Korsun30 March 2014
In all honestly, I seriously feel like I wasted hours of my life going to see this. It wasn't funny. It did try to be, but the humour was very dry and shallow. The plot; well, there was no plot. A few parts actually seemed so detached from the whole story that you wondered whether the movie was actually going anywhere or if they shoved that in there to make it last longer. It just wasn't enjoyable and had very generic characters. It pains me that money was put into this at all.

All in all, just.. save yourself time and money. See it when it's out on DVD for a quid. Don't see it at a cinema for a fortune. I mean it's by far not the worst movie I've seen, but comes very close.
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Low Fidelity
robinski3421 June 2014
Enjoyable enough if slightly loopy comedy directed by Pascal Chaumeil, who was 1st AD on Leon and 2nd Unit on The Fifth Element, A Long Way Down is his third big screen directorial outing. The promise of another adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel is to be welcomed, however this is no High Fidelity. The cast is highly watchable and there are nice dynamics between Brosnan, Collette, Poots and Paul - but somehow the script never ignites and the laughs often feel forced. It's not entirely obvious where to point the finger. There are effective dramatic moments, but the lows don't seem quite low enough, whereas the highs feel a bit too easy to come by. In the end the film is perhaps not sure which tone to take, rendering certain character motivations unconvincing. This said, there are still many moments to enjoy, including good turns in support from Rosamund Pike and Sam Neil, but there's a good chance you would be just as happy watching High Fidelity again, seeking out Fever Pitch (not the US version) or, better yet, An Education.
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Doesn't fall far
thekarmicnomad13 February 2015
This was a compromise choice between me and my girlfriend after we had spend about an hour trawling through the rubbish on Netflix.

It was an acceptable choice. This is a film with a simple yet deliciously absurd premise; Peirce goes to top himself but finds he isn't the only one contemplating suicide at that moment. Predictably he becomes entwined with these distractors and so the story unfolds.

This film sets its sites fairly low. It isn't hilarious or gut wrenchingly tragic or even makes much of a point about mental health and suicide (phew!)

It is a well crafted, light hearted character study. It is guilty of being twee, predictable and a bit cheesy but that didn't bother me in the slightest.

Brosnan has a bit too much luggage to pull off a cockney accent but all the cast give a great performance and the Poots's character is quite infectious.
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Started off good, but that's it.
milli-685-81537014 March 2014
The premise of this movie is unique and I found it very interesting.

It's a movie that builds on it's characters and that is where I feel it's fatal flaw lies.

The characters don't feel authentic, so the viewer never gets pulled into the story. Most of the supposedly touchy scenes are just unintentionally funny, which makes the whole movie feel very shallow. The longer the movie goes the worse it becomes until it reaches plain cheesy in the end.

All that paired with a very foreseeable plot made the movie a pretty disappointing experience.
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A painful splat on a pavement from which there is no escape.
TheSquiss18 April 2014
It's A Long Way Down and the ground will be a very welcome relief.

Pascal Chaumeil's English language feature debut is not so much a dull thud as a painful splat on a pavement that is quickly trampled on by uncaring passers by. The next time some bright spark decides to balls up their remake a classic movie (like the Coen's The LadyKillers, or F. Gary Gray's The Italian Job) and I complain yet again that we should leave the classics well alone and remake the flops instead, THIS is what I'm talking about!

A Long Way Down is a really good idea for a sharp, black comedy that has something serious and meaningful to say and should use comedy sparingly to lighten the mood just before the audience dips into depression. Unfortunately it doesn't say it very well at all.

Based on Nick Hornby's novel, A Long Way Down begins with disgraced TV show host Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan), spoilt, brainless politician's daughter Jess (Imogen Poots), desperate single parent Maureen (Toni Collette) and pizza delivery guy J.J. (Aaron Paul) on the roof of a tower block one new year's eve, all aiming to see in the new year with a swift shot of suicide. Seeing the error of each other's ways, they agree to postpone their leaps into the abyss until Valentine's Day and adopt each other as a disparate surrogate family and attempt to find a reason to live. They might very well find cause to survive, but I found an extremely good motivation to end it all right there.

Death, depression, suicide and discovery in the depths of it all have made good subject matter in the past. If you haven't already, check out 1988's Hawks (starring Timothy Dalton, Anthony Edwards and a host of British actors), do so. It may not be the greatest film ever, but I love it, it's genuinely tender, moving and, at times, very funny, and it's a heck of a lot better than A Long Way Down.

Most of the stars can do, and have done, a great deal better than this. Brosnan was Bond, for god's sake; Paul absolutely rocked in the phenomenal Breaking Bad; and Collette brings something very special to the screen in almost everything she appears in (if nothing else, she was integral to the wonderful Little Miss Sunshine).

Poots, however, is so blood-curdlingly annoying in this that it makes one wonder again whether her previous performances have not been worse than I originally thought (I recall I wrote "She is two-dimensionally awful and has slipped ever so slightly over the boundaries of subtlety and into pastiche" about her in my review of A Late Quartet, an otherwise delightful film). She is so lacking subtlety, so hideously, preposterously inflated and horrid that I wish I'd been atop the building to push her off.

But A Long Way Down isn't poor simply for her pantomime turn. It is embarrassing in its frequent, obvious attempts to be funny. This should not have been a comedy but a serious film with light moments to ease the anguish. Watching them all try to laugh, seeing Brosnan dancing, and observing the 'family' splash around in the sea together in a 'we're all having fun together and it's 100% genuine' are just horrible moments from which no cringe can rescue us. There is no escape from the twee displays upon the screen.

It is a poor screenplay that is appallingly directed and clumsily acted for the most part. Aaron Paul emerges with the most dignity intact but I'm guessing this will be top of his list of films to expunge from the CV.

A Long Way Down isn't a dreadful film, it's just poor, shoddy and pointless. It's the filmic equivalent of riding a bike where the chain constantly slips off the cogs and catches maybe one tooth in twenty. There should have been highpoints, but this is a plateau of constant lows with the occasional molehill on the landscape. And those bumps are just too damn low to hurl oneself from.

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A Long Way Dumbed
Rand Bishop24 September 2014
I count Nick Hornby among my favorite novelists. While he doesn't always hit a grand slam, every time he takes a swing, Hornby consistently treats the reader to a contemporary sense of snark, while applying ironically original language to heartfelt stories and relationships. And, he seems to relish in the challenge of writing first person from disparate points of view: male, female, youthful, mature, etc.

It's been at least six years since I read A LONG WAY DOWN. But, I often site this tome as my favorite Hornby work — for two major reasons. First, because he's dealing with a theme that particularly interests me: suicide, or more specifically, a person's desire to end his or her life. Secondly, as a writer, I particularly admire Hornby's courageous and successful effort to tell the same story from the perspectives of four completely different characters.

The film adaptation fails on both accounts. First, screenwriter Jack Thorne seems to adhere to the common misconception that people want to kill themselves because of some catastrophic, emotionally painful event or series of events, rather than the real reason — the sense of hopelessness that comes from clinical depression. Thorne's explanation for this quartet's malaise is superficial. He virtually ignores the underlying causes for their despair. Only one of the four (J.J. played by Aaron Paul) seems to actually be suicidal — because he is so obviously struggling with the toxicity of depression.

I was so looking forward to seeing how the screenwriter would deal with the diary aspect of the book, which so beautifully used eight eyes to describe the events, instead of two. I envisioned something as triumphant as SLIDING DOORS, where two parallel narratives and quite different outcomes are played out — one, where Gwyneth Paltrow makes the tube train, the other where she misses it and has to wait for the next. Instead, Thorne takes the easy way out by breaking the structure up into four chapters, each meant to be a glimpse behind the curtain at one of the four main characters' private life. This device ultimately makes the film mundane compared with Hornby's brilliant source material.

Thorne does condense the timeline of the story rather tidily, which succeeds in accelerating the bonding of these very different characters. However, with Toni Collette's Maureen and Paul's J.J. so sublimated to Pierce Brosnan's narcissistic fallen breakfast chat-show co-host and Imogen Poots' politico's rebellious daughter, there seems to be much missing here. Film after film, Brosnan invariably seems to come off as full of himself. To me, he is one of the most unlikeable actors around. In this film, he is playing a man who should be just that — full of himself, unlikeable. Yet, he seems to be winking and smirking as if to say, "I'm really a good guy. Don't hate me, please." And, that just comes off as pathetic.

Poots, on the other hand, is one of the most charming new faces on the scene. With Jess, Hornby created a bitter, bratty, self-destructive, upper-crust girl pretending to be a bohemian. None of that character is in the script. So, Poots has to rely on her innate spark to motor her through such a shallow exploration of what should have been a genuine, contemporary character with substance.

With these two characters trying so hard to be likable from the get-go, there's no place for them to go. Thus, there is no reason to applaud their making it to the end of their journey. The result is a huge disappointment.

Such genius source material, such a wonderful cast. Squandered. A long way dumbed.
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Drama can't be turned into a comedy just by adding cheerfulness
Niki Cutts24 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This Hornby's film adaptation has brilliant moments, but this film version turns it into something like a bloody disgusting musical. It's a fantastically unconvincing and unfunny movie, obviously determined to shelter a feel-good flavor from feel-bad material. Did they really think that this drama could be turned into a comedy just by adding cheerfulness and hugs?? Lots of failing people in this film. Pierce Brosnan play a disgraced TV host, Imogen Poots as a stubborn teenager, Aaron Paul as a failed rock star and Toni Collette as a depressed mother. All have reasons to end it all, and they meet at the top of a London tower block, a notorious suicide spot...

A funny turn of fate means they all decide not to go through with it, and form a supportive group, whose brush with despair makes them of interest to the facile and exploitative media world. This comedy adaptation timidly falters from a dark melancholy book. The result is really tragic.
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A comedy-drama that drowns in its complexity
Matic Boh19 July 2014
Not only is the acting and writing simply dreadful, A Long Way Down also seems awkwardly made, as it focuses on a group of four individuals who help each other relinquish their suicidal thoughts, resulting in a film which loses itself in its own complex web of intense emotions and themes. Despite it having a very short running time, the film is horribly paced and it drags on, while also failing miserably at creating the idea of the characters establishing genuine life-changing bonds. The main issue, however, is that the film struggles to cope with the highly complex emotional and existential themes it choses to tackle, as the relationships which are the vocal point of the film do not appear sincere, causing A Long Way Down to be unable to develop feelings of sentimentality and compassion in its audience.
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