Nick Hornby is one of England’s sharpest satirists and his stories of lovelorn men obsessed with sports, status and rock music have made for terrific film adaptations (Fever Pitch, About a Boy, High Fidelity). The movies made from his novels have a terrific mixture of edge and sweetness and his 2005 novel A Long Way Down continues this balance of darkness and light. It is a bleak comedy about four people who attempt suicide on New Year’s Eve on the same roof, but after meeting, decide to stay alive until Valentine’s Day and make a pact to become friends instead.
For those who don’t know, an adaptation of A Long Way Down is heading to cinemas this spring. The suicidal cast of characters includes a TV personality who has fallen from grace (Pierce Brosnan), a failed rocker and pizza boy (Aaron Paul), a single mother of a disabled boy (Toni Collette) and a frazzled teenage head-case (Imogen Poots). The film’s first trailer was released today and though I had high hopes, it makes it seem like a gooey, lighthearted trifle, more along the lines of a Richard Curtis romance than a story that stemmed from Hornby’s pen.
Although selling a blend of comedy and drama is often tough, since a studio does not want to undersell the levity but oversell the difficult subject matter, this first look feels too slight to resonate. On the bright side, Rosamund Pike and Sam Neill (with an unkempt moustache) round out the impressive cast.
A Long Way Down comes from French director Pascal Chaumeil, who spent many years as Luc Besson’s assistant director working on films like Léon and The Fifth Element. Although there is no North American release date just yet, the film comes out in the U.K. on March 21st. That is just one week after Paul and Poots appear onscreen together in Need for Speed, so those with a fix on the rising stars should be satisfied on both sides of the pond.
Source: The Film Stage