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.
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.