“Suicide is painless” was the theme song from M.A.S.H. It could very easily double for a new film called A Long Way Down that does everything but bring in Bozo the Clown to make suicide no more serious than what to wear to the junior prom.
A Long Way Down ★
Written by: Jack Thorne
Four people meet accidentally on the roof of the tallest building in London, each with a plan to jump. Martin (Pierce Brosnan) is a man with everything—one wife, two children, three dogs, four People’s Choice Awards and five mornings a week as the star of the most popular breakfast show in England. It all falls apart when he picks up a girl at a launch party for a new men’s moisturizer and she turns out to be only 15 years old. The result is a tabloid scandal, divorce, disgrace, bankruptcy and a short prison sentence. He wants to jump. Maureen (Toni Collette) is the depressed mother of a son who thinks her death would ensure him better care if left to social services. She wants to jump. Jess (Imogen Poots) is the freaked-out, drug-addled daughter of a famous, self-centered politician. She wants to take a flying leap. And finally, there is J.J. (Aaron Paul), a failed rock musician working as a pizza delivery boy with incurable brain cancer. He wants out so bad that he tries to break in line ahead of the others.
But before they can end up on the pavement like processed Spam, they decide to postpone their demise until Valentine’s Day and save each other. With only six weeks to go before their deadline, they share their stories with the national press, jazzing up the details with embellishments that turn into downright lies, and become media sensations, especially when Jess explains to the chat shows that they were saved by an angel who looked like Matt Damon.
From this contrived and rather silly waste of time, sketchily written by Jack Thorne and directed by Pascal Chaumeil with the pace of a snail on Valium, comes an underwhelming British oddity as inexplicable as the mating rituals of penguins. Dragging out one dopey cliché after another, they even take a holiday together to Tenerife. Nobody makes any sense about things like character motivation, but the pizza delivery boy, who was lying about the brain cancer, at least tries, describing the bonding as “a bunch of desperate people being desperate together as a way of feeling a little less desperate.” Little do they know that includes the audience. The movie doesn’t know if it wants to be a comedy, a morality play or a cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for. I wish for fewer disasters in my future like A Long Way Down.