PIERCE BROSNAN TONI COLLETTE AARON PAUL IMOGEN POOTS ROSAMUND PIKE SAM NEILL
A LONG WAY DOWN
It just goes to show that you can have a stellar cast of talented actors, even those in high demand, but with a script that doesn’t work or, in this case, also a plot that is too convoluted that it can’t be salvaged. A Long Way Down refers to the distance our four main characters attempt to jump off a popular building on New Years Eve in order to end their lives. Yes, suicide is the real star in this British dramedy from About a Boy author Nick Hornby. I would expect those who have dealt with depression and the various forms of suicidal tendencies to find great offense in the film's light hearted treatment of the illness. Each character has their own depressing story which is explored in sections for the viewers, but the group regiment in which it’s presented never creates a spark.
Martin (Brosnan) has lost his career and family, and after being released from prison for an inappropriate relationship with a minor, he finds himself dragging a ladder 15 stories on top of a building to commit suicide. Before he can jump, a voice behind him asks if she should wait until he is finished before she takes the leap also. Maureen (Collette) has run out of options for her son, who is immobile and hopes her death will force the system to give him the healthcare he needs. However, both are knocked off their course when a young woman named Jess (Poots) bolts through the rooftop door towards the edge. Martin grabs her just as JJ (Paul) offers all three of the potential jumpers some pizza. Together, this foursome makes a pact to help each other through whatever issues they are dealing with.
Finding a reason to live amongst a group who want to end their lives might have sounded like a good idea, yet as it plays out on screen it’s a long way from being an enjoyable comedy or a heartwarming drama. While Poots and Paul play the odd couple in Need For Speed, it’s a fairly predictable bet that sparks will fly here the moment they lay eyes on each other. The two males/two females, two young/two mature pairing is only the beginning of the suspension of disbelief the audience is asked to swallow. The script struggles to find a way to keep these characters in one place and the choice to make their story public so they can go on talk shows with Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) or elaborate vacations and discuss their feelings continue to belittle the film's purpose.
“I don’t mind the pain, it’s the hope that kills me,” JJ says in one of his darker moments. For all the talent of Brosnan (November Man) and Oscar nominee Collette (Little Miss Sunshine), it's Hellion’s Paul that provides the film with its few noteworthy moments. The melancholy soundtrack is more perfectly assembled than the actors to their particular roles. While this is certainly a step outside the box for former James Bond Brosnan, it’s Collette who is atrociously miscast in a role that uses none of her strengths as an actress.
Final Thought – Miscast and unable to make a topic like suicide work for laughs or tears.
By: Dustin Chase