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A Long Way Down: Chemistry Trumps All

July 26, 2014

A long way down movie poster

A Long Way Down is the happiest film about potential suicide you will ever watch. It is tonally odd and bounces all over the place yet remains likable due to the chemistry of the cast. As the proceedings bounce around  you remain engaged because of the all-in performances. I really liked what Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle had to say about the film.

As British comedy sometimes will, “A Long Way Down” has an occasional attack of the cutes, but the actors’ commitment keeps the movie on the plus side. I enjoyed the velocity of Poots’ assault on every line, as well as Paul’s sensitivity – that vibe he has of being a good guy.

The film doesn’t care much for being subtle. The characters sing I Will Survive and Tragedy while the conflicts are resolved swiftly. Time doesn’t matter, side plots are ditched and they all have undefined backstories. Gone is the classy humor from Nick Hornby’s other book adaptations  About a Boy and High Fidelity. What we get here is four people having a great time together. So, the plot and subject matter are thin yet you really like the actors involved.

Long way down cast

The plot revolves around four people who meet on top of a roof on New Years Eve. They all planned on committing suicide but decide to sign a pact (on the back of a suicide note) that will keep them alive until Valentine’s Day. Pierce Brosnan is a formerly famous morning host who went to jail for having sex with a 15-year-old. Aaron Paul is a sad musician. Toni Collette is a single mother who takes care of her disabled son. Imogen Poots is the daughter of a politician who lost her sister and needs to learn impulse control.

I understand all of the complaints made about the film. However, I was able to roll with A Long Way Down. The director Pascal Chaumeil is known for cheeky, fluffy and goofball films that don’t take themselves too seriously. He doesn’t capture drama well but he manages to get believable chemistry from his cast. So, the proceedings might be fluff but the performances are game and the actors are enjoying themselves.  The happiness was infectious and the chemistry real in A Long Way Down. Poots and Paul were wonderful together in Need For Speed (A guilty pleasure of mine) and in this film you can tell they really enjoy each other.

Long Way Down Imogen Poots Aaron Paul

There are moments in the this film that make it all worth it. It has a cheeky ambition that manipulates emotions well. It is fun watching Brosnan act like a grouch while Toni Collette once again proves she is a chameleon. The four actors are really trying and it makes the film enjoyable. I do wish it could have reached the comedic/drama heights of High Fidelity or About a Boy. However, it makes for a fun romp that should not be over analyzed.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2014 2:40 pm

    The cast did try with this material here. I’ll give them that much, because everything else is pretty terrible. Good review.


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