By: Garrett Collins
Starring: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Anthony Mackie, Edward Burns, Jaime Bell, Genesis Rodriguez, Ed Harris, and Kyra Sedgwick
Man on a Ledge would seem to be a movie about a, well, man on a ledge. However, anyone who has seen the trailers to the film knows that it is about so much more than that, and tries to be an action thriller about a..you guessed it, man on a ledge. The problem is that its one note premise is bogged down by unmistakably bad humor and thrilless action. The film is about an ex cop named Nick Cassidy (Worthington) who is accused of stealing a slimy millionaire’s (Harris) diamond. After escaping from prison, he checks into a Manhattan hotel, writes a suicide note, and immediately steps out onto the ledge, where troubled police psychologist Lydia Mercer (Banks) eventually shows up to try and talk some sense into him. See, she had recently failed at her job and had a cop jump off a bridge in front of her. The plot thickens until we finally come to grips as to why he is out there, and it is up to Banks to find out the exact reason why, and stop him before it is too late.
While the trailers to this movie really did nothing for me, I did have some hopes going in because I enjoy the work of the actors involved. Worthington (who has a pretty big summer sequel Wrath of the Titans on the horizon) has some decent charisma that is good for any action hero to have. He is good enough in the lead here, captivating the audience by acting like he is near death on a ledge for over an hour, which is tough for any actor to do. Elizabeth Banks, who displayed in the film The Next Three Days that she has some pretty decent acting chops, is miscast here. But, she still does a pretty good job with what she is given. Anthony Mackie (The Adjustment Bureau) is a likable enough guy, and Ed Harris has a resume that pretty much speaks for itself. The film wastes no time (about 3 minutes) getting Cassidy on the ledge. Where it does waste time is in how he is eventually found out by Banks and the condescending cop Jack Dougherty (Burns, whose career hasn’t exactly been on fire the last ten years). This is where plot holes really start to shine. Like, for example: Cassidy supposedly left no fingerprints in the hotel room for the police to lift. Yet, how did he get on the ledge? By magically lifting the window?
And, the problems really don’t stop there. While the plot holes of Cassidy being on the ledge shine through, the scenes of him and Banks talking are really the best of the film. Where it really suffers is when they cut away from the ledge, and we are brought into the sub plot of his brother Joey (Bell) along with his brother’s girlfriend Angie (played by really pretty newcomer Genesis Rodriguez) trying to help Cassidy unravel a plot to clear his name. Granted, these are scenes that have to be in the film. But, between all the bad jokes and sometimes captivating, most of the time not action, the film really slows down when they are onscreen. You can also add Kyra Sedgwick’s name to that list (what is she doing in this?!) as she plays a tabloid reporter not unlike what Courtney Cox played in the first Scream movie. And just as likable.
By the time the film led up to its absurd finale, I had already started checking out of it. It was written by Pablo F. Fenjves, who only wrote TV movies up until he sold this turkey, and was directed by documentary filmmaker Asger Leth, who might want to go back to them after this. It always boggles my mind when I see talent this good wasted in a film like this. Granted, you never really know what you are going to get, but the one note premise of this film should have been just that. And, as much success as Summit Entertainment has had with the Twilight franchise, they can chalk this film up as yet another reason as to why its not going to have another.
1.5 out of 5