A LONG WAY DOWN
Certificate 15. 96 mins.
Starring Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots.
FOUR seemingly disparate strangers form a bond when they meet on the roof of a notorious suicide spot - the fictional Toppers' House in London - where they intend to take their lives.
The quartet includes Maureen (Toni Collette), a sweet-natured mother, who doesn't feel like she's doing a good job of looking after her severely disabled son; disgraced television presenter Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan), whose career has foundered after he unknowingly slept with an underage girl; American musician JJ (Aaron Paul), whose life has lost direction since his band split up; and Jess (Imogen Poots), a teenage livewire who has been spurned by her boyfriend and is haunted by the disappearance of an older sister.
These strangers make a pact to live for another six weeks until Valentine's Day.
This second chance at life becomes complicated for Maureen, Martin, JJ and Jess when newspapers get wind of their unusual deal.
Adapted from the novel by Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down makes an awkward and emotionally unsatisfying transition from page to screen.
The main cast delivers strong performances, but there is little sense that the characters learn valuable lessons from their haphazard journeys of self-discovery and have mustered the courage to move on with their lives.
The script and plot are largely true to Hornby's book, but pacing is uneven and there's a palpable rush to tie up loose ends in the concluding 15 minutes.
Moreover, that neat and tidy ending unintentionally makes trite of the sensitive issue of suicide.