Review: Man on a Ledge
PLOT: When a man steps out on the ledge of a Manhattan hotel, a plan to clear his name is set forth. The man is ex-cop Nick Cassidy who was wrongfully accused of stealing a diamond from multi-millionaire David Englander. In hopes to clear his name and bring the guilty to justice he has calculated a death defying course of action. All the while hoping he doesn’t have to jump down to the concrete several stories below.
If you have watched the trailer for MAN ON A LEDGE, you know there is more to the story than the title suggests. The film stars Sam Worthington as an ex-cop who was wrongly convicted of stealing a diamond from multi-millionaire David Englander (Ed Harris). He is serving hard time in prison until he is able to create an elaborate hoax and escape in hopes to prove his innocence. Yes, part of this means he must create a diversion by standing on the ledge of a tall building while crowds gather below hoping for some great YouTube content.
When Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) checks into a swanky hotel in Manhattan, he seemingly has the intention of taking a walk off the ledge. However before he steps out on the ledge, we witness his daring escape from prison custody while attending his father’s funeral. It is perfectly clear that there are a few unknown reasons why he stepped onto the ledge. Once there, a crowd quickly gathers below with camera phones armed and ready. The police arrive and when they ask Cassidy what he wants, he demands to speak to police psychologist Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks). When she arrives, the plan is already well in motion to prove Cassidy’s innocence.
Let’s start with the positive. There is a wealth of talent here. Anthony Mackie and Edward Burns give strong performances in their supporting roles. Elizabeth Banks is cast against type as a troubled police psychologist who once lost a “jumper” who happened to be a fellow officer. She is terrific in the role as the woman who has all but given up on herself. Yet it is Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez that really put a spark in this production. Bell plays Joey – Nick’s brother – who along with his girlfriend Angie, is looking to free his big brother. The chemistry between these two is insanely hot as they add a much needed sense of humor and fun to the proceedings.
As far as Sam Worthington goes, I liked his portrayal of a man risking everything to clear his name. He offers a quiet intensity to Nick, even if his performance comes off as a little flat occasionally. His work with Banks is especially good as the two actors work very well off of each other. This is a tough role for any actor, spending almost the entire time standing, sitting, or near falling off of a ledge. It would be especially difficult to keep the fear intact, which he is able to do for the most part.
Now for the bad news, as terrific as the cast is, the movie itself feels about on par with your average procedural cop drama on television. It is pretty easy to figure out the bad guys from the good, and each set up is more ridiculous than the last. Clearly during an action film you have to suspend disbelief in order for it to really work, but this is much too far-fetched and convoluted to offer legitimate thrills. Throughout MAN ON A LEDGE you could sometimes hear the audience calling out “come on” as Nick Cassidy’s complicated plan fell into place. This is especially problematic when it comes to the excitement factor. Aside from a couple of close call getaways with Bell and Rodriguez, I didn’t feel much tension even when Worthington finds himself in a chase sequence… on the ledge!
Documentary filmmaker Asger Leth keeps things moving well enough. He avoids the quick cuts used predominantly in action films today. That is one blessing aside from the good performances, but it is simply too hard to get past the lackluster excitment factor. Do you remember that uncomfortable feeling you had as Tom Cruise was hanging on to that massive building in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL? Well it is non-existent here. The punch line is too obvious and the conclusion is visible from the very beginning.
MAN ON A LEDGE isn’t terrible but it isn't necessarily very good. Frankly, I had fun with it and if you are a fan of the cast you'll probably dig it as well. But I was on the fence as to whether I should give it a 5 or a 6. This is basically a B-movie with a really solid cast, but lacking any solid thrills or suspense. If you love B-movie thrillers in all their over-the-top glory you could certainly do worse, however for the rest of you, LEDGE will be all the more satisfying as a rental.
|Extra Tidbit:||Kyra Sedgwick has a hilarious bit as hard hitting news correspondent Suzie Morales.|