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Man on a Ledge

January 27, 2012

Nick Cassidy: I’m ready to die. It’s important that you understand that.

Man on a Ledge is a movie not to be taken seriously. It is loaded with clichés and silly acting, but it is undeniably fun from start to finish. That is why I enjoyed Man on a Ledge; it’s inability to compile actual human-drama does not matter when we have a mildly entertaining storyline ahead of us. It’s very nice seeing Sam Worthington on screen in anything other than Clash, and I cannot get enough of Elizabeth Banks, so I was pleased in the acting department presented before me. The only real aspect of the film that bothered me was the sub-plot involving a heist, which was played out as a pointless addition to an already intriguing plotline. Having said that, Man on a Ledge has enough good aspects to award this as an acceptable January release.

You can only push an innocent man so far. Sam Worthington stars as Nick Cassidy, an escaped convict who has been imprisoned for quite a few years for supposedly stealing a diamond off of David Englander (Ed Harris). After his escape, Cassidy checks into a hotel under an unknown name, and steps out on the ledge of his hotel room. When someone notices him up there, crowds start pouring in and the police get involved, where hotshot negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) attempts to get Cassidy off the ledge. While this is going on, Nick’s brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and his girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) pull off a heist stint to get the real diamond and prove Nick’s innocence.

You better have a lot of chutzpah to make another plotline in addition to a suicide one. Director Asger Leth wasn’t thinking right when he injected another plotline here. The whole idea of an escaped convict on a ledge is interesting enough, especially when he’s played by Sam Worthington. Now, onto the cast. A juxtaposition of Elizabeth Banks and Sam Worthington go perfect together, just like Elizabeth Banks and Seth Rogen do! Banks plays the “badass cop who is exhausted but feels the need to help this man” and Worthington plays the “badass ex-cop on the ledge who spends the film maintaining an english accent amidst his obvious british accent”.  Put these two together, and you have a pretty fun time. The remainder of the cast do fine in their roles, aside from the obvious fact that Genesis Rodriguez and Jamie Bell made their performances WAY too silly considering the situation they were actually in. Ed Harris plays a pretty dastardly villain, and Anthony Mackie has no real reason to be in the film, but is a good time waster.

Man on a Ledge was written by Pablo F. Fenjves, who is unknown to most likely everybody reading this review, but has made a name for himself writing a number of made-for-television films including Trophy Wife and The Devil’s Child, which are both decent films (at least for a film made-for-television). This is a step-up for Fenjves, as Man on a Ledge is his first theatrical script. Unfortunately, the script is only half-good. On one hand, the storyline involving Sam Worthington’s character on the ledge is thrilling, well put-together, and is able to hold the audiences attention. On the other hand, the whole heist storyline is dull, unimaginative, silly, and is badgering to the film’s tone, which was meant to be glum and serious. Perhaps if the story had taken a different route, my interpretation would have been more positive. 

While it may not have taken the route I hoped for, Man on a Ledge is good fun. 

Man on a Ledge: 3 ½ out of 5

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