A suicide pact between a chastened television presenter, a struggling single mother, a down on his luck musician, and an alienated, troubled teen seems like an unlikely starting point for a comedy, but that's exactly where A Long Way Down - the latest film to adapt one of English author Nick Hornby's (About a Boy) books - finds its premise. That's a grim basic conceit, but based on the above international trailer, the film may not actually go much darker than its cornerstone sequence.
Hornby's novel revolves around the aforementioned quartet of perfect strangers - Martin (Pierce Brosnan), Maureen (Toni Collette), Jess (Imogen Poots), and J.J. (Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul) - who each head to the highest floor of the Toppers' House in London on New Year's Eve with the intention of leaping to their doom. But if two is company and three's a crowd, four on the rooftop is never allowed, so they agree to postpone their deaths until Valentine's Day; during the intervening weeks, they bond and find succor in their newfound friendship.
We've seen a number of Hornby's stories transitioned from page to screen since the late 90's, when the original Fever Pitch (starring Colin Firth) came out; most famous of all, though, is 2000's High Fidelity, a story that's defined by heartbreak but suffused with an offsetting warmth that informs its entire climax. From watching this two-minute clip, it looks like we can expect much of the same from A Long Way Down, too. (Perhaps those familiar with the text can speak to that suspicion.)
Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. A Long Way Down looks sweet, charming, and moving, and all those elements combined with the film's cast - which also includes Rosamund Pike and Sam Neill - could prove a winning formula. Brosnan and Collette are both veteran talents, while Paul and Poots (who appear together in the upcoming video game adaptation Need For Speed) have proven themselves individually in films ranging from Smashed to A Late Quartet over the past few years.
On the other hand, there are hints at schmaltzy overtones here that may end up tipping the picture into more a more cloying category of storytelling. Director Pascal Chaumeil, working off of a screenplay by Jack Thorne, has largely made a name for himself with romantic comedies like Heartbreaker and Un plan parfait; maybe he can find the right balance between A Long Way Down's morose and joyful aspects.
British audiences will find out for sure toward the end of March, when the film opens in UK cinemas. Whether or not it gets a US theatrical run remains to be seen, but we'll keep our fingers crossed if only for the cast alone.
A Long Way Down arrives in UK theaters on March 21st, 2014; we'll keep you updated on possible US release dates as we're able.
Source: Digital Spy