A Long Way Down review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
If there is anyone who can craft a funny and touching portrayal of desperation it would be Nick Hornby who somehow managed to make an unpleasant philanderer lovable in his much loved adaptation of About a Boy and while A Long Way Down handles its premise with sensitivity it can be said that it plays it a little too safe making its characters seem more melodramatic than actually depressed, which oddly enough does more harm to the film then an offensive stance would have.
The film follows Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan), a TV personality who thanks to a mistake has lost everything, his job, his family and his reputation. When he decides to finish it on New Years Eve he finds his moment of loneliness interrupted by three other like minded souls. Martin is joined by party girl Jess (Imogen Poots), rocker JJ (Aaron Paul) and introverted Maureen (Toni Collette) and together they make a pact to live on until Valentines Day and try to make something better of the lives they currently lead.
While the film tries very hard to make each characters struggles seem original and believable there is plenty of sensationalization going on here with each character receiving his own personally tailored sob story designed to make the audience pity the characters instead of like them and while Brosnan and Collette make their characters problems seem more than they are on the page, Paul and Poots never really get the right balance of comedy and tragedy to make JJ and Jess seem like normal human characters.
In the end though, A Long Way Down is a smartly written comedy that avoids glorifying the suicides these characters are contemplating. The ending might be a little sappy and the film seems to lose its muster towards the end as Jess becomes a completely different character and JJ’s issues are swept under the rug with little mention of them but this is an entertaining picture that while having its own flaws does prove to be an awful lot of fun.