Review: Man On A Ledge

Directed By: Asger Leth

Starring: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Anthony Mackie, Edward Burns, Genesis Rodriguez

Rating:   Running Time: 102 mins

The movie opens with a simple enough premise. Jay Walker (Avatar’s Sam Worthington) checks in to a New York hotel and is shown to his room on the 21st floor. He orders a meal and then after eating, writes down a note on a pad, opens the window and climbs out onto the ledge. We’re then shown through flashback that Jay is in fact Nick Cassidy, an ex-cop and escaped prisoner who was imprisoned for stealing a huge diamond, and who is on the run after escaping at his father’s funeral the day before.

Almost immediately, passers by on the street notice Nick on the ledge and shortly thereafter, the police and press turn up. Jack Dougherty (Edward Burns) the first negotiator on the scene, is sent in to Talk to him but is given one demand, to get negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) there in 30 minutes or he will jump. Mercer, a negotiator haunted by a previous jumper she failed to talk down, comes in to the scene, unawares that Nick is communicating with his brother Joey through an earpiece, as Joey works on breaking in to a secure facility to clear Nick’s name.

Man On A Ledge could have been an absolute mess, but surprisingly I found myself getting quite into it. It’s far from a perfect movie, and at times has too many familiar plot points, but the sizeable cast, all of which bring their a-game, make it ridiculous yet enjoyable in the same way that a Tony Scott movie, like Unstoppable or Taking Of Pelham 123 were. It’s consistent throughout, and even at several points manages to induce a fair bit of genuine tension, especially at a couple of sequences that admittedly managed to provoke a slight adrenaline rush as well as one or two which are almost nail biting worthy, plus some nice character humour, well timed, to keep the tension from boiling over.

Yes, there are several ludicrous moments, but they are handled very well throughout the movie, there’s some slightly uneven dialogue and some faintly fleshed out characters, but at no point are these allowed to reach levels that overwhelm the movie, and it all comes together to make an average yet entertaining b-grade suspence-thriller. Sam Worthington is ok in the lead, as are the other members of the lerge cast which includes Elizabeth Banks, Edward Burns, Jamie Bell, Genesis Rodriguez, Anthony Mackie and Ed Harris, who’s obviously having fun playing the slightly over the top bad guy.

The movie has been described by some as being like the movie ‘Phone Booth’ but this only really applies to about half of the movie, with the other half being similar to a good heist flick. The only thing that’s a real shame is the fact that the heist aspect of the movie has been advertised in the trailers and press, as the movie would have had a stronger impact had this not been the case. Once again, as is the current advertising trend, too much is shown in an attempt to make a memorable impression. At least this time, the trailer didn’t make the movie out to be something it’s not (see ‘The Grey’).

For the majority of it’s 102 minutes running time, director Asger Leth has put together an enjoyable b-grade thriller, the only problem the movie has, as with every movie of this type, is that it’s slightly let down by the unravelling of plot in the last 20 or so minutes, and an unnecessary schmalzy ending. It may be better served on the small screen once it hits DVD, but if you have seen the trailer to the movie and it did pique your interest, you’ll most likely Have a fun viewing experience.


Posted on February 7, 2012, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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