Title: A Long Way Down Director: Pascal Chaumeil Year: 2014 Run time: 1hr 36m
“Four lost souls - a disgraced TV presenter, a foul-mouthed teen, an isolated single mother and a solipsistic miso - decide to end their lives on the same night, New Year’s Eve. When this disillusioned quartet of strangers meet unintentionally at the same suicide hotspot, a London high-rise with the well-earned nickname Topper’s Tower, they mutually agree to call off their plans for six weeks, forming an unconventional, dysfunctional family, becoming media sensations as the Topper House Four and searching together for the reasons to keep on living.”
1:01 - Great first line to a film. 3:03 - Who knew buildings had so many deterrents to killing yourself? 7:49 - You can’t just throw a ladder off a building! 15:35 - “What are you hiding from?” “Humans.” 24:07 - Jess is all kinds of fun! 24:48 - “That’s not stalking, it’s barely even espionage.” Jess needs to narrate everything. 27:09 - Big Ben as a backdrop is very cool. 32:30 - “We went up and we came back down again.” 33:57 - Matt Damon, the angel. 41:02 - He wouldn’t be delivering pizzas to a roof, though. 48:34 - “Oh Maureen, tell me that you’ve seen the sea before.” 55:35 - Ah, that small world thing of going on holiday and finding someone you know! 59:17 - “Okay, you win the psycho game.” 1:02:38 - Not such a small world after all. 1:14:07 - It’s such a quiet and patient life she leads. 1:15:19 - I need a Jess in my life. 1:25:02 - “We are standing in entirely different positions, for one thing.”
I read this book a while back, deciding that it was a slightly worrying premise but a rewarding read as it managed to avoid a lot of the more “smooshy clichés”. It’s safe to say the film is very much of the same ilk, a cast of very different characters meeting in an unusual situation and then trying to find their way to a better place, together.
Jess really steals the show, with Imogen Poots in demanding form, but all four of them do a great job. Unfortunately, there seemed to be far too much story to cram into the short amount of time, and you sometimes got left behind a bit. I did feel like Aaron Paul was under-used, his character under-represented, and the story didn’t really tell it as well as I think the book did.
I can see why this wasn’t particularly popular with audiences, and it isn’t a great premise to market: “Hey, suicide is fun!” but I did enjoy it. Maybe if you haven’t read the book it’s harder going, although Mr C seemed to quite like it too.