Editor’s Note: Go,See,Talk presents this review of Man On A Ledge from our guest contributing writer Bill Graham. Have a look at what he had to say about the Sam Worthington led crime thriller and offer your thoughts below.
A talented cast does not always equal out to a quality film. While Sam Worthington defiantly clings to the side of a building with threats of suicide, his plight to be found innocent is mostly hollow. Sometimes the withholding of information from an audience can have a great payoff. Then there is Man On A Ledge. Director Asger Leth seems content to hold most of his cards just out of the audience’s reach. That leads to a slew of reveals that lack complexity and specialize in fallacy of logic. Yet I had an odd revelation half way through: I was still curious how everything would unfold.
Nick Cassidy (Worthington) is an ex-cop that is brooding in prison as a convict. He doesn’t seem to be much for cooperation, but when his father suddenly passes away his connections give him a pass to get out of jail for the service. That’s when he escapes in an inglorious mess and we are shown his master plan: standing on the ledge of a Manhattan hotel, drawing the attention of law enforcement, ravenous 24-hour news day reporters (namely Kyra Sedgwik), and a curious public. That’s just half of it though. While he has their attention, something else is going on right across the street. Spoiler: His brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and girlfriend Angie (Génesis Rodríguez) are breaking into a vault. How Nick gets out of the situation isn’t even half the mystery.
One can assume that at some point or another, Nick will come down from that ledge. But while he is up there, there is a thrilling sense of absolute scope. That makes sense because they actually did film on the Roosevelt Hotel, 25 stories up in the middle of Manhattan. The ledge is actually played around with a lot more than one might imagine. He is communicating with Joey the entire time and helping if he can. About to detonate some charges? He makes it rain (money). There’s also a curious reaction by the crowd, screaming up at him to jump. I guess they feel if he is going to go all the way up there, he might as well go through with it.
While up there Nick wants to speak with one cop and requests her by name: Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks). She is still recovering from the tragic death of someone she was attempting to coax down from a bridge and he sees her as someone he can finally trust. He’s definitely done her research and knows she isn’t well liked within the force. Not because she is bad but because she doesn’t play their game. How he uses that to his advantage is another mystery I won’t reveal. Don’t worry. Leth still has plenty of cards hidden away. Banks gets the most out of her character but she’s ultimately limited because of the time on screen.
One of the highlights of the film is actually Angie and Joey. They bicker, they squabble, and they flirt. There’s a lack of sexual tension, but they make up for it with their quirky relationship. They also prove to be completely ill-equipped at times. Angie nearly falls down the elevator shaft within the first few minutes of breaking into the vault. Then there is a heated moment where they have to secure something, and Angie simply uses her chewing gum. So often we see things go wrong because these experts didn’t know about something. Here, Angie and Joey seem to be mostly reading and reacting. They have a plan, but they veer from it wildly and freely.
There is a moment in the end where there was either going to be something tragic and awesome or just something preposterous occur, and it definitely ends up going with the absurd route. Things unfold so quickly that I was dumbstruck with the possibilities racing through my head while the story was moving on without me. In fact, that’s a good example of Man on a Ledge: there are a slew of possibilities that could have occurred. One could daydream of them. The setup is ripe for that kind of stuff. Unfortunately, the end result left me behind, still thinking of what could have been.