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Long Way Down, A


Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul, Sam Neill, Rosamund Pike, Tuppence Middleton

Director: Pascal Chaumeil

Lionsgate UK must be thanking their lucky stars for picking up this BBC-funded black comedy scripted by Jack Thorne from the novel by Nick ‘Fever Pitch’ Hornby since, fortuitously, two of the stars – ‘Breaking Bad’ lead Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots – also recently appeared in the hit action thriller ‘Need For Speed’.

‘A Long Way Down’ is much more likely to appeal to audiences seeking a pleasant and not over-demaning time at the cinema than to critics. But then, as someone once observed, “That’s Show Business”.

It has no pretence to ‘art’ – the entire film is in focus, for a start - it’s in English and director Pascal Chaumeil keeps it moving smoothly enough over plot-holes not to jolt the overall experience.

“To cut a long story short, I decided to kill myself”, explains disgraced TV presenter Pierce Brosnan as he prepares to hurl himself off a tall building in London on New Year’s Eve.

It doesn’t happen. Instead, the four key characters meet cute on the roof, all intending to dispose of themselves Since the basic storyline involve four would-be suicides with second arrival single motherToni Collette politely asking Brosnan ““Are you going to be long?” while she shivers in the snow waiting for her turn to jump. Enter student Poots and pizza delivery boy Paul, discussion follows and the four decide to postpone their suicides until St Valentine’s Day, keying in a series of scenes, some blackly comic, others sentimentally effective enough…

Chaumeil takes some time to find an effective balance between humour and drama but succeeds in time and thanks to strong performances from his leads, notably Collette, delivers a film that – while hardly likely to become a genre landmark – nevertheless eventually makes its points well.

And let's celebrate the BBC, who for once actually made a film that's worth seeing, using our television licence money for funding

Alan Frank

UK/Germany 2014. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Colour.
96 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 22 Mar 2014