Having weathered a less-than-stellar reception in the UK after its March release, Magnolia Pictures have released a new trailer for A Long Way Down, ahead of its appearance on VOD and in US theatres.
The film, based on the Nick Hornby novel, is directed by Pascal Chaumeil and written by Jack Thorne, of This Is England fame. The main cast is made up of Pierce Brosnan (Mamma Mia!), Toni Collete (Enough Said), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) and Imogen Poots (Filth). They are supported by Rosamund Pike (The World’s End, Gone Girl) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, The Tudors). There is, in theory, no weak link in this chain of talent. So why was it received so poorly in the UK then? Did it simply buckle under the weight of expectation?
The story follows four strangers whose paths unexpectedly cross on the roof of a London skyscraper on New Year’s Eve, where each intends to end their own life. Suddenly lacking the privacy they require to complete the act, they instead make a pact to stay alive until Valentine’s Day – during which time they evolve into something of an unconventional support group, becoming friends and, eventually, ‘found family.’ This new trailer suggests some genuine moments of comedy, and the inevitable heart-warming stuff you would expect from a Hornby story. But, at the same time, it seems like it may require some extensive suspension of disbelief.
What we have here is a trailer that accurately hits the beats of the three acts of the film: rooftop meeting, media frenzy/bonding, everyone feels better. It all looks great and interesting, but it leaves us with two suspicions. Firstly, that what goes in-between might just be a little far-fetched, and secondly, that we have already predicted the end of the film before we’ve ever sat down to watch it. As demonstrated by previous film adaptations of Hornby novels, whether or not those suspicions are confirmed depends entirely on the filmmakers doing the adapting. High Fidelity – adapted by John Cusack, Steve Pink, D.V DeVincentis, Scott Rosenberg, and directed by Stephen Frears – was excellent. About A Boy – adapted by Peter Hedges, along with directors Chris and Paul Weitz – was mediocre.
Where does A Long Way Down feature on that spectrum? You can find out when it comes to VOD on June 5, and to US theatres on July 11th, 2014.