A Long Way Down
Time Out says
Former morning-show host Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan), disgraced in a sex scandal, sees no reason to go on living. So at the start of Pascal Chaumeil’s preposterous and cloying adaptation of Nick Hornby’s same-titled 2005 novel, he ascends a London high-rise on New Year’s Eve, prepared to take a 15-floor plunge. The thing is that three other lost souls—introverted single mother Maureen (Toni Collette), manic politician’s daughter Jess (Imogen Poots) and down-and-out American musician JJ (Aaron Paul)—have similar aims. So the urge to off themselves vanishes, and the quartet makes a pact to hold off the jump for six weeks (until Valentine’s Day), during which time they form a quirky surrogate family.
Perhaps this all worked well on the page. But despite the cast’s best efforts (Paul, especially, brings his brooding best), everything that transpires onscreen feels wholly inauthentic and calculated for maximum treacle. Of course Maureen has a disabled child who will pluck our heartstrings. Of course everyone’s hiding the real reasons for their suicidal desires, and those reasons will be bared only when the turgid narrative needs a gooey goose. And of course you’ll wish they’d all just take a header and spare us the phony uplift.
Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich
Cast and crew