Not without its faults, but it’s extremely original and features some wonderful performances.

By the first few minutes of A Long Way Down, you’d think this film was a dark comedy. However, while it has a few of these elements, it’s actually much more of a drama…and a pretty good one at that. Now I am not saying it’s a great film, as it has a few minor problems here and there, but overall it features some very nice acting and the story is very original–something you can’t say about most films.

When the story begins, Martin (Pierce Brosnan) has climbed to the top of a skyscraper in order to kill himself. After all, although he’d been a famous TV personality, his life has recently become infamous after he was caught sleeping with an underage girl. Now, jobless and fresh out of prison, he feels he’s got no other choice but commit suicide. Oddly, however, his task is disrupted when he discovers three others up on the roof–also to kill themselves on New Year’s Eve. Now, with his mood and resolve disrupted, Martin, as well as the others, decide not to die…at least for now. Soon, the four begin talking and they come up with a pact–they agree not to kill themselves…at least until Valentine’s Day.

A Long Way Down
Directed by
Pascal Chaumeil
Aaron Paul, Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots
Release Date
11 July 2014
Martin’s Grade: B+

As the picture progresses, each of the other three reveal their stories about what’s brought them to this point. Jess (Imogen Poots) appears to be a happy and wild spirit. However, she’s hiding her sadness about the disappearance of her sister and she’s deeply depressed. When asked, J.J. (Aarron Paul) tells the new ‘friends’ that he’s dying of brain cancer–but he holds a secret he keeps from them for much of the movie. And, Maureen (Toni Collette), she’s very pitiful. She is sad and lonely—spending all her time caring for her severely physically and mentally disabled son and having little left for herself. Her story is the most touching. As to what happens next, you’ll just have to see this one for yourself.

The beginning and ending of this film are its strengths. They are well written and acted and really satisfy. As for the middle, the movie seems to sometimes lose its way. Too often, the story seems to move too quickly–as if you’re only seeing part of the film and other parts were left out somehow. Additionally, a few of the things that occur during this period seem awfully random and out of place. But, and this is important, the good stuff in the film really makes you overlook the bad. With such an odd and compelling story and some fine acting, I found I was able to overlook some of the film’s lulls. Worth seeing–particularly if you are looking for something different–and this is very different.

A Long Way Down is now available on Netflix and out on DVD.

by Martin Hafer