With already two of Nick Hornby’s books becaming hit films, ‘High Fidelity’ and ‘About A Boy’, in 2014 director Pascal Chaumeil and screenwriter Jack Thorne teamed up to loosely bring another of Hornby’s stories to life. Now available to view on Netflix ‘A Long Way Down’ is a British dark comedy that stars Pierce Brosnsan, as Martin, a disgraced television talk show host that climbs to the top of the Toppers building in London on New Years Eve to commit suicide. In the middle of his contemplation, a timid woman named Maureen played by Toni Collette from ‘The Sixth Sense’, and ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, interrupts him, and decides to wait her turn for her same fate. Then two more strangers, a young woman named Jess, and a pizza delivery man named J.J, played by Aaron Paul from television’s ‘Breaking Bad’, each with the same ideas, show up ruining the moment for them all. The four emotionally distraught people then make a pact not to commit suicide until the next holiday, Valentines day, which is six weeks away. As the six weeks tick away, the lives of the “Topper Four” as the press deems them once their story leaks, begin to connect and become almost family like as they help one another through their personal hardships.
A Long Way Down is a heartfelt, comedic look at life, relationships, and finding reasons to live. Chaumeil and Thorne’s film brings quite an impact to viewers. The story captivates you and rolls you through emotions. Surprisingly at no time do you find yourself looking at the time thinking the film is dragging. Each moment seems just as important as the last. The film’s narration, split up by all four characters is unique and gives viewers an unsurpassed way of being involved in the film. You immediately care for each character, and over the course of the film you find out each and ever one of their reasons for being on that rooftop. You find yourself desperately hoping that they can sort out their problems.
The acting is nothing less than flawless by a perfect cast. Pierce Brosnsan has gained fame as James Bond and in other spy thrillers, but in ‘A Long Way Down’ you are reminded of how impressive of an actor he is. His smart-alec wit brings about humor, but shows exactly where his character is emotionally. Toni Collette, as always is completely lost in her role. She truly is Maureen, a very shy, very timid, and very loving woman who hasn’t had a chance to experience life. When her reasons for being on the rooftop come clear, your heart hurts for her. Imogen Poots, known for ‘V for Vendetta’, as Jess brings the young misunderstood innocence to the film. As Jess, a young girl who seems full of trouble and personal turmoil, Poots presents her as fast talking, lonely, and is quick to hide her pain with humor. You feel for Jess, and at the same time get so frustrated with her, and then you realize she’s a lot like many young girls today who’s father cares but hardly shows it, especially when she needs it most. Lastly Aaron Paul as J.J isn’t anything we haven’t seen before but none the less is still amazing. As J.J the mysterious one of the group, you see a lot of his Breaking Bad character Jessie in this role, but not as much of a burn out or loser really. J.J. Is a young American man in a foreign land hurting for unknown reasons, and when his own reasons become known, many viewers will find themselves truly identifying with him. The film is also loaded with other stars in smaller roles like Sam Neil, from’Jurassic Park’, and Rosamund Pike, from ‘Gone Girl’.
‘A Long Way Down’ is a definite must see film on Netflix. Filled with amazing performances, emotions both humorous and heartfelt, and a story that will make you look at your own life and your own relationships and realize, you understand where the characters are all coming from. You’ll personally identify with at least one of the characters. We’ve all been lonely, hurting, in need of help. Maybe not literally, but metaphorically, we’ve all been to the top of a building looking down, and can’t see the bottom. ‘A Long Way Down’ reminds us we are not alone, and helps us remember where the stairs are.