Sunday, January 5, 2014

A Long Way Down: Jess Looking for a Quick Fix

Jess (Imogen Poots)
A Long Way Down

I've been writing about Nick Hornby's black comedy A Long Way Down and the upcoming screen adaptation for awhile now. The film is making its premiere at Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival in February, followed by the UK debut on March 7th, and STILL NO poster, No trailer and No word on a US release date! Aaargh. 

So now, not only am I hoping that the director, Pascal Chaumeil and screenwriter, Jack Thorne get the book's quirky cast of characters right, I'm keeping my fingers crossed the film actually finds its way to theaters here - it has to, correct? So, what's the hold up?? 

For now we've got Hornby's own words for solace. We've already looked at the other three characters bent on killing themselves by jumping from a rooftop in London; Martin (Pierce Brosnan), JJ who stole my heart (Aaron Paul) and the motherly Maureen,(Toni Collette). Finally, it's bratty Jess' turn, Imogen Poots plays her in the movie. Jess is a bit of an odd girl out. While the other characters have their reasons for their suicidal yearnings, Jess arrives at the rooftop seemingly accidentally. 
"Before I got to the squat, I never had any intention of going onto the roof. Honestly. I'd forgotten about the whole Topper's House thing until I started speaking to this guy. I think he fancied me, which isn't really saying much, seeing as I was about the only female under thirty who could still stand up."
J.J., Jess, Maureen and Martin take a vacay


It's this guy 'Bong' that clues Jess in and changes her course, the course of history, as she puts it.   
" ...he went You're not thinking of going up on the roof, are you? And I thought, Not with you, stoner-brain. And he went, Because I can see the pain and desperation in your eyes. I was well pissed by that time so looking back on it, I'm pretty sure that what he could see in my eyes were seven Bacardi Breezers and two cans of Special Brew. I just went, Oh, really? And he went, Yeah, see I've been put on suicide watch, to look out for people who've only come here because they want to go upstairs. And I was like, What happens upstairs? And he laughed, and went You're joking, aren't you? This is Topper's House, man. This is where people kill themselves. And I would never have thought of it if he hadn't said that."
And then after telling us what a perfect solution it is to her problems, she goes running upstairs to jump. Just like that!

This is Jess to a T, jumping in headlong, without a thought; the kind of person to engender that parental classic "If all your friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge would you jump too?!" Yes, Jess would. She's all about the quick fix. Messed up, acting out to get attention, Hornby gives Jess a garbage-filled mouth and zero impulse control which makes for a lot of laughs as she often says the first -  and just as often, cutting - thing that pops into her head, all the while careening along trying desperately to mend her new group of friends; an easier job than really fixing herself. 

I decided to pull all my A Long Way Down posts together on a page I'm calling Jump into 'A Long Way Down', I can not wait to add a trailer and a poster! Oh, yeah, and a US release date!

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