Man on the Ledge tells the story of Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), a man who is in prison for stealing a precious diamond from David Englander (Ed Harris) several years ago while he was working as an undercover cop in one of his buildings. The story follows Nick as he escapes from police custody after attending his father’s funeral. After he escapes, Nick decides to go on a ledge of a building and threatens to jump unless Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) can help him reopen and investigate his case.
I saw Man on a Ledge about three weeks ago as my second official film screening of 2012. This was one of those movies that really kind of had me on the fence after seeing the trailer. I was thinking, it could be really good or it could be really bad. I went into the theater with the mindset and what I got was a film that went from being extremely entertaining and interesting to something that was really stupid and downright insulting.
The idea behind Man on A Ledge is a good one and the pacing is perfect. The problem is really everything else. The script looks like it was written by two people, one person who set out to make an action thriller and the other person who is trying to make a comedy. The combination just makes the film come off as clever in the beginning, but quickly becomes a film in which you can’t stop shaking your head with disbelief. The first 30 minutes of the film is pretty solid and well crafted…this is right when the suspense begins to build.
As the film moves past the 30 minute mark, it introduces more characters and a subplot that is cool, but is loaded with stupid and one-dimensional characters. In this subplot, Nick’s brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and his girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) are breaking into a building and we as an audience are somehow supposed to believe they can break into a building without any back story. Instead of building backstory, the film decides to show scenes of the two bickering back and forth about if Joey was the best sex that Angie ever had or having Angie randomly striping and switching outfit for no particular reason at all. It is things like this that really urked me about this movie.
The film goes back and forth between Nick and Lydia talking on the ledge to Joey and Angie in the other building. This helps build some suspense and makes the film really move along quite nicely. Most of the scenes with Nick and Lydia are solid even though the acting isn’t all that great, but at least the suspense is there. This is what kept me engrossed until the last 15 minutes, which gets so unbelievable that you can’t help but get angry at the film. I have to discuss this scene so the next paragraph will completely spoil the ending so be warned and skip it if you don’t want to know what happens.
*SPOILER ALERT* The film near its climax decides to go in a direction that is so cringe worthy that I wanted to stand up and scream at the top of my lungs! Nick actually runs the entire ledge of the building and makes a leap off a giant NY skyscraper and lands on an inflatable balloon type thing used by police to avoid a jumper from splattering onto a city street. While this is ridiculous enough, it just continues because as he lands, he isn’t hurt at all and gets up immediately and starts beating the crap out of Ed Harris’s character. *END SPOILER* seriously what the hell? That’s all I can really say.
With that being said…I enjoyed some aspects of this film. It was really entertaining and suspenseful at times, but the film itself just got way too silly and farfetched that it made me like it less and less as it went on. The acting was mediocre at best because seriously, who asked Elizabeth Banks to play a serious cop? She looked and felt like such a miscast and as for Jamie Bell, he was just awful. Even poor Ed Harris was terrible and his dialogue was horrific. The worst part of all is that it was so easy to see how this film could have been a solid action thriller, but sadly it will only be remembered for how over the top ridiculous it was. While It’s not the worst film out at the moment, it’s definitely not the best and not worth a trip to the theater. Catch this on Blu-Ray or DVD when it comes available in a few months.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Man on a Ledge is a kind 5 out of 10.