If you are at all like me, you see the possibilities that the gimmick of a man on a ledge somehow pulling off a jewel heist while pledging his innocence could sell itself on an assumed B-movie premise. At once, all the white-knuckled moments flashed across your mind. Think of it! The tension! The height! All the drama that could unfold! It all could have been an unexpected delight. Bad news. Yes, I say “could have” because this film simply doesn’t.
Man on a Ledge is a “could have” and “should have” type of film. Full of possibilities, the film falls apart faster than a convention of overweight shut-ins. It’s a shame, too. The beginning is full of promise: a man enters a midtown Manhattan hotel and enjoys some room service. He then opens the window, climbs out, and waits on a ledge until the police are notified. Thing is that he is over 25 stories off the ground.
Wow, right? That’s your mysterious opening of B-movie potential. It’s simple and dynamic and the possibilities are limitless. Unfortunately, director Asger Leth and screenwriter Pablo Fenjves prove that concept itself doesn’t a worthwhile endeavor make. As soon as the cast starts to arrive – actors Edward Burns, Elizabeth Banks, Ed Harris, Kyra Sedgwick, Jamie Bell, and Genesis Rodriguez – the film begins to fizzle and then completely rage itself off the rails kicking up large rocks of implausibility and moments so “forced” not even George Lucas could claim them with a thump of his chest.
Leave it to Sam Worthington – a wooden plank of an actor if ever there was one – to take the piss out of Nick Cassidy’s game of high-octane mental chess with his opponents. There’s just nothing behind those looks. Suspense diffused. Banks is completely out of her league with a performance that simply goes nowhere and does little else. It doesn’t help when the dialogue reduces every character to stock, though. Even the great and grand Ed Harris can’t sell the angry lines he is paid to spit out.
We are supposed to be manipulated by the script. We aren’t. The family “feud” between Bell and Worthington amounts to little else than boys at play and, suddenly, by way of a rejected Mission Impossible break-in scheme, the mayhem they designed is never a surprise…only the tools they use seem a bit too convenient to be believed.
What’s missing is energy. Man on a Ledge never quite matches the energy of the opening and simply plods along into tired scenes and situations that – when played against a man on a ledge – never quite gets the momentum it should. It’s a gimmick film, people, it shouldn’t be that hard to sell itself. Nick of Time did this. Remember that one? Johnny Depp racing against the clock. It absolutely worked. Energy, energy, energy. It’s not found here.
Someone, please, push this man off his ledge.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and brief strong language.
Director: Asger Leth
Writer: Pablo F. Fenjves
Cast: Sam Worthington; Elizabeth Banks; Jamie Bell; Patrick Collins
Genre: Crime | Thriller
Tagline: You can only push an innocent man so far.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Nick, have you ever considered hurting yourself?"
Theatrical Distributor: Summit Entertertainment
Home Video Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: January 27, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: May 29, 2012
Synopsis: In the heart-pounding thriller Man on a Ledge, Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) makes a desperate and life-threatening move to prove his innocence after he is framed for the theft of a rare, prized diamond. Recently escaped from prison and with nowhere else to go, Nick climbs onto the ledge of a towering skyscraper, inviting the eyes of New York City to anxiously watch as one wrong step could mean p...lunging to his death.
But as one police negotiator soon learns, Nick’s daredevil stunt, captivating the eyes of the public and media, masks a dangerous ploy to reveal the truth about his tarnished name. With the help of his brother and with time running out, Nick’s intricate plan must work perfectly, but when you’re on the 25th floor ledge of a building, going down takes on an entirely more hair-raising meaning.
With unpredictable twists and electrifying turns, Man on a Ledge features an amazing ensemble cast including Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Edward Burns, Genesis Rodriguez, Kyra Sedwick, and Ed Harris.
English SDH, French, Spanish (less)
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH (less)
Available on Blu-ray - May 29, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Encoding: Region A
Well, at least the transfer looks spiffy. The AVC encoded 1080p transfer (presented in 2.40:1) is ripe with bold hues and golden colors. There is an overwhelmingly cool look to the film – as in blue tones – that gives it a nice urban feel to its gritty beat. Still, the sucker is a sleek machine. Maybe too sleek? Fine detail is superb, picking out the grains in clothing, all the stubble in Worthington’s chin, and providing stunning depth to the wrinkles on Harris’ face. Unfortunately – and this is due to the cool vibe of the transfer – the depth in shadows is a bit gamey and never consistent. The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is a bit of a constant head scratch. Noises are never consistent or realistic. Crowds are heard as if on cue and then fade away on command. Bust streets are never actually sounding like they should and interiors are far too quiet.
- Not what you are expecting but actress Elizabeth Banks does supply a commentary to the trailer. What? Yes, it is as dumb as it sounds. Listen if you doubt, but you’ve been warned. It’s not even funny when drunk.
It’s a first when the only worthwhile featurette – 15 minutes about filming a man on a ledge – offers more thrills than the movie itself, right? About 80 feet off of the ground, a crane hovers to catch the “action” unfolding. Most interesting, it really is. It’s worth the film’s only peep. And then there’s that silly trailer commentary recorded by Banks. Somewhere someone over at Summit is laughing.
This release is just awful.
- The Ledge (15 min)
- Trailer (with commentary from Elizabeth Banks) (3 min)