A Long Way Down (15) ***

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Several Nick Hornby novels have made the perilous transition from the page to the big screen, with largely positive results.

Next up for the big screen treatment is A Long Way Down, a novel about four seemingly disparate strangers, who 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.

Aaron Paul as JJ, Imogen Poots as Jess Crichton, Toni Collette as Maureen and Pierce Brosnan as Martin Sharp in A Long Way Down. Picture: PA Photo/Lionsgate.

Aaron Paul as JJ, Imogen Poots as Jess Crichton, Toni Collette as Maureen and Pierce Brosnan as Martin Sharp in A Long Way Down. Picture: PA Photo/Lionsgate.

There’s Maureen (Toni Collette), a sweet-natured mother; disgraced television presenter Martin Sharp (Pierce Brosnan); musician JJ (Aaron Paul); and Jess (Imogen Poots), a teenage livewire, who for various reasons feel that they have failed in life.

Rather than kill themselves on New Year’s Eve when they first meet, the quartet makes a pact to live until Valentine’s Day.

Their plans are thwarted when newspapers get wind of the pact. Jess decides to play the media at their own game, by inventing a story about seeing an angel.

Despite strong performances from each of the main cast, A Long Way Down doesn’t hang together well.

The script and plot are largely true to Hornby’s book but the film feels higgledy-piggledy and there’s a noticeable rush to tie up loose ends in the final 15 minutes.

Consequently, the ultra-neat ending seems to make the issue of suicide trite.