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Film Review: “A Long Way Down” (2014)


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Directed by: Pascal Chaumeil

Writers: Nick Hornby (novel),  Jack Thorne (screenplay)

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, Zara White, Joe Cole, Sam Neill

 

How many people commit suicide each day? This is a hard question and there is no accurate answer.  How many of them didn’t really WANT to die after they jumped from the top of a building?

“A Long Way Down”  is  the story of four people who want to die for  different reasons; a destroyed reputation, a broken heart, a moment of weakness, an unrequited love, and brain cancer.  Unlike other suicides, these four strangers will meet each other on the roof of a London building on New Year`s Eve with one single intention: to kill themselves.  However, their “brilliant” plan for death in seclusion is ruined. After a short discussion, they decide to come down alive – but only temporarily. They make an agreement; if their lives do not change by Valentine’s day, the four will come back to the same building and finish what they initially intended to do – end their lives by jumping off.

“A Long Way Down” is a British, dark comedy, directed by Pascal Chaumeil (A Perfect Plan, Heartbreaker) and based on Nick Hornby`s 2005 novel, A Long Way Down.

The film begins with disgraced TV host,  Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan), who has decided to kill himself;  as explained by Martin Sharp in his narration which accompany the opening scenes. A sex scandal with a girl he thought was 25, but instead was a teenager, causes him a divorce and the ruin of his perfect reputation. As per Mr Sharp, this is the main reason he is on the roof of  the London building – to end his life. And, just as he prepares to jump, he is interrupted-  by Maureen, played by Toni Collette, who is on the roof for the same reason. Mr Sharp promises Maureen to scream loudly when he jumps, and she can do whatever she wants. Jess, played by Imogen Poots, is the third suicidal person who joins them. Finally, a fourth, J.J. (Aarol Paul), joins also. The four, however, find it too hard to do, so they descend the building alive.  Later on, they find themselves in the hospital, where they discuss the most favorable day for a suicide. Valentine  Day becomes an option, so the four agree to stay alive for six more weeks.

During these six weeks, our heroes will laugh and cry; they will have some ups and downs and  they will love and hate each other in this six weeks. The one thing  that will remain strong until the end is their spirit and the desire they have to change something in their empty, meaningless lives.

Pascal Chaumeil`s “A Long Way Down”  is a dark comedy about people who have been given a second chance to reassess their lives; who they are, and what they can change to make their lives worth living. Pierce Brosnan, as Martin Sharp, is truly good. Aaron Paul, as J.J., is terrific. His character really makes you cheer for him, as he is one of the most desperate  characters in the film.

J.J.  has nothing in his life to be ashamed of. He used to have his own band and he enjoyed life. But now, he has nothing and no one to live for,  which makes J.J. the one most likely to end his life by Valentine’s day.

Maureen (Toni Collete) is a single mother of a boy who is sick. Even though she takes very  good care of her only son, this does not stop her from to commit suicide.

Jess, played by  Imogen Poots, is an extraordinary young girl. She is charming, but not very  smart. So, as it happens, Jess falls in love with the wrong guy, who eventually breaks up with  her. Brokenhearted, and desperate, Jess also goes up to the roof to jump off…

“A Long Way Down”  offers  a story of four different people, with different life styles,  problems, difficulties, who are at different places in society, with different challenges, and different levels of desperation. In the end, they meet on the same roof of a  building to do what they believe to be the only way to solve the problems in their lives. This film will definitely make you think of what is really – it will make you look at your life from a different perspective. Moreover, after watching this film you will love your life and value it more than ever.

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About Ulkar Alakbarova (1029 Articles)
My name is Ulkar Alakbarova. A wonderful name, is it not? I come from the exotic land of Azerbaijan but now I live in the hub of Hollywood North – Toronto, Canada. How lucky I am to be able to enjoy and indulge in my favourite avocation of watching movies. Movies of every genre are screened here in Toronto. There are black and white classics, avant garde, independently produced, and of course, newly released movies for all to enjoy. Let me share this treasure of entertainment with you. Read my thoughts and opinions then let me know if you agree.

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