A Long Way Down – Overview/ Review (with Spoilers)

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Overview

A suicide pact between strangers creates lifesaving friendships.

Trigger Warning(s): Conversations about Suicide

Review (with Spoilers)

After seeing That Awkward Moment, it is a bit difficult to not find yourself a bit curious about what may happen with Imogen Poots’ career. She is definitely an odd one, as is co-star Toni Collette, and I have to admit I wanted to see what type of actress she was when she wasn’t someone’s love interest. Though also I wanted to see Toni Collette in the film since, while I may not watch everything with her name attached, The United States of Tara really made me interested in her career.

Characters & Story

Four people all decide to commit suicide on perhaps one of the most popular days of the year: New Year’s Eve. The first to show up is Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan) who is a disgraced morning show host; then there is a mother of a special needs child, who is now an adult, Maureen (Toni Collette); A girl who seems to crave being odd, but doesn’t want to deal with how it can ostracize her, Jess (Imogen Poots); and a pizza boy named J.J. (Aaron Paul) who seems like he has the least to lose.

Together they created an odd bond in which they provide what J.J. calls “The 5 seconds” needed to keep each other from killing themselves. Well, at least until Valentine’s Day when they all agree to try again. Leading you to wonder, how screwed up is this film actually going to be?

Praise

It seems despite what I said in the Parts Per Billion review, there is an actual way to split the focus between 3 or more characters and make it work. But only if the story is good and the actors telling the story have undeniable talent. Take Brosnan for example. Though his Bond days are over, there is still this appeal to him even if he is sort of a douchebag in the movie. And while Poots may be a bit annoying and uncouth as Jess, at the same time, as you get to know her, she comes off as that weird middle or high school friend you had who may have got on your nerves but was still quite loveable. As for Collette as Maureen, well she is just pure sob story really. Be it because she is raising her special needs son alone, worried about his future when she is gone, or perhaps her feeling helpless in life, her character seems complex enough to warrant her own movie. One which deals with being the sole caretaker for someone who is special needs, which is something I can’t imagine having the endurance for, to be honest. Oh, and lastly there is Paul who really, well, I must admit I didn’t connect with him as much as the others, but with him a true sense of hopelessness was given, at least when it came to this speech he gave near the end of the movie. Otherwise, I would definitely say he was the least interesting of this rather diverse group.

Criticism

For me, the issue of this film is partly due to us meeting the characters on the day of their suicide. So with that, everything feels a tad bit rushed and, while we are given a reason for every character, you are left feeling like there are many questions unanswered and topics unexplored. Like, despite Martin’s reasons, you are left unsure how come his daughter isn’t factored into things; Then with Maureen, while you understand her feelings of hopelessness, at the same time you are led to ask where is the father, his family, her family, and how come she has no friends? Her block is house after house and she isn’t a shut-in so it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Especially when things change for the better and it seems like she barely changed her routine at all.

Then, moving onto Jess, perhaps she may have been the sole person who you get a full idea of why she would commit suicide. Between her father being unaccepting of her ways and kind of cruel, which you can see she inherited; her sister, who she clearly idolized, disappearing; and the fact it seems before she meets everyone she couldn’t find one relationship which validated her existence, she really is the only one whose suicide you can understand and relate to, for a lack of a better word.

As for J.J., honestly not only is he perhaps the weakest of the four but, quite honestly, he seems to be thrown in there. For while he is given a reason behind him wanting to jump, during his time to shine, they more so use his story to progress the story for the cast than develop him as an individual. And while he is given a last minute save near the end of the film, I sort of felt it was too little too late really. But hey, at least they tried to, in the end, make it worth Aaron Paul’s time.

Overall: TV Viewing

To be perfectly honestly, this film is on that border of being “Worth Seeing” and “TV Viewing.” However, due to there only being one character fully fleshed out, I have to label this as “TV Viewing.” For while I found the movie as a whole compelling enough to keep you interested throughout, it’s the little issues which really stay with you over how funny a character is, how sad their story was, and etc.

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