5 Flights Up: Film Review
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Diane Keaton, Cynthia Nixon
Director: Richard Loncraine
Based on the novel Heroic Measures by Jill Ciment, 5 Flights Up arrives to claim the affections of the slightly older generation.
Freeman and Keaton star as Alex and Ruth, an inter-racial couple married for years and who have been living in New York for the majority of their lives. Deciding to sell up, the pair begin to dip their toes into the market at the same time as a suspected terrorist causes mayhem on the Brooklyn Bridge by abandoning a truck and as their dog and long time companion undergoes major surgery.
Flashbacks and voiceover (all usually precipitated by Morgan Freeman glancing wistfully into the distance) make up the majority of this film with a growing reliance on the hysterically OTT way the media's speculatively reporting on the potential bomber about to bring down NY again.
If anything, 5 Flights Up is a gentle love letter to New York, with fanciful flights into the past awkwardly jammed into the middle of proceedings.
While Keaton and Freeman easily work together during the onslaught of kooks and out there house hunters, 5 Flights Up suffers from a slightly bizarre series of sideplots that seem to exist purely to extend the initial scenario of Ruth and Alex looking to sell and buy a home.
Keaton becomes increasingly more flighty as the film progresses and borders on irritating amid the ocean of calm that is Freeman. While the film borders on gentle throughout, its constant mish-mashing of odd sub-plots, brief flashbacks that add very little to the central relationship and a motley real estate vibe papers over the cracks created by a wistfully reminiscent piece.
Perhaps the biggest question comes over the flashback that hints that Ruth and Alex's inter-racial relationship would have been scandalous; but even that is skirted over for fear of giving the emotional edge that the film potentially needs.
More a love-letter to a New York of the past, where views, shots of the Brooklyn Bridge and a neighbourly community has now been sidelined in favour of smart-phone lugging ignoramuses, 5 Flights Up is simply summed up in the old adage - It's all about the journey, because the ultimate destination is somewhat of a disappointment.