A Long Way Down - Blu-ray Review

'like an episode of Benidorm without the laughs, bile and cynicism'

A Long Way Down is a difficult book to adapt (yes, we're on adaptations again). Nick Hornby's novel is a largely well managed mixture of the maudlin and the hilarious, a narrative perhaps similar in tone to 50/50, with this trying to get laughs out of suicide, rather than cancer. Hornby just about manages it but, even for him, a skilled and popular novelist, it is a stretch.

It's even more of a stretch for director Pascal Chaumeil, who doesn't have the sort of background to suggest that this was ever going to be anything other than a massive challenge. Chaumeil never finds a comfortable tone for the film, instead sitting it somewhere around the area of heartfelt drama, which doesn't suit it, or uneasy Comedy, which it struggles with largely due to Jack Thorne's screenplay failing on the joke quota front.

The cast are universally well-suited to their roles, with the exception that, almost to a 't', none of them have extensive experience being funny. Pierce Brosnan would be perfect as disgraced morning television presenter Martin, if only he wasn't required to be both disgraced and funny. He can't do it and the rest of the leads (Toni Collette, Imogen Poots, Aaron Paul) struggle similarly.

Thorne's on-the-nose script doesn't help. Brosnan actually has to sell the line 'ah, Penny, my old co-host', filling in the backstory that should have been told in a much more manageable way but is instead pitched to us by him whilst he is on Penny's (Rosamund Pike) morning sofa.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. A bonding trip abroad for the group is like an episode of Benidorm but, yes, without the laughs, bile and cynicism.

A Long Way Down's few perks appear in flashes of grumpy parental jokery, typically on the few occasions Brosnan shares the screen with Poots and Sam Neill. It's never offensively bad and you do get the impression that everyone is trying, but it is a flawed film on a fundamental level and two or three adequate bits aren't enough to save it from tonal uncertainty and undiscovered characters.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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