Today: April 10, 2024
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Man On A Ledge

Sam Worthington stars in this mightily silly but highly entertaining thriller about a convicted criminal on the run who is willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to prove his innocence.

Sam Worthington stars in this mightily silly but
highly entertaining thriller about a convicted criminal on the run who is
willing to go to whatever lengths necessary to prove his innocence.

Nick Cassidy (Worthington) is
an ex-cop, imprisoned for the robbery of a $40 million dollar diamond, who
escapes from custody and threatens to throw himself from a Manhattan hotel
ledge. Though his motives for manning the ledge are initially unclear, a police
psychologist attempts to talk him down.
But everything is not as it seems.

Man on a Ledge fits somewhere between the heist thrillers of Soderbergh’s flashy Ocean’s 11 or Spike Lee’s Inside Man
and the innocent man/revenge action plot of Tango & Cash. Without spoiling the film’s more surprising
moments, Cassidy’s plan is less self-sacrifice and more diversion. In order to
succeed he must get troubled police psychologist Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) to believe in him and
aid him in his plan.

Outside of this central plotline is a somewhat superfluous sub-plot
between Cassidy and his ex-partner (Anthony
Mackie
). As you would expect in a film about an innocent man, somewhere
along the line he has been betrayed.
Much of the fun though in Man on a Ledge is not knowing where it’s
going, though it’s not exactly rocket science to see what’s coming.
Nevertheless, the inclusion of Jamie
Bell
and his intrepid helper, in the shape of the buxom Genesis Rodriguez, is where the film
gathers momentum in the heist stakes. Meanwhile, back on the ledge Cassidy and
Mercer engage in a cat and mouse game of figuring each other out. Mercer has
her hunches but is tainted with the failure of a recent case. Cassidy is her
shot at redemption and she isn’t about to give up.

Man on a Ledge does everything it says on the poster. Packed full of all
the usual action thriller tropes and stolen plotlines from a bunch of other
films, there’s very little in the way of deep emotional involvement, more
mindless fun. In the way that B-movies were used to titillate as the very basis
of good entertainment, Man on a Ledge is a good solid B-movie and it should be
commended as so. The film also owes something of a visual debt to Hitchcock’s Vertigo and first-time feature director Asger Leth handles the film with enough flair to make Man on a
Ledge a visually arresting experience.

Sam Worthington plays Cassidy with the usual gravel-voiced mumbling that
we have come to expect from him, but here it somewhat fits the rather ludicrous
tone of the film. Ed Harris is also
on top ‘hamming’ form as the sadistic bad-guy of the picture, David Englander,
an unsympathetic Wall Street top dog who has the film’s best line when
discussing ‘jumpers’. “Why don’t these people just shoot themselves?” Why
indeed. The framing of this film in the social injustices of the recent global
recession is also an interesting point and is something that films are using
more often as a backdrop.

You could choose to pick holes in Man on a Ledge at every turn but if
you treat it as the flashy, popcorn entertainment that it aims to be, then
you’ll be kept engaged by this workmanlike thriller.

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