Cast: Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), Joey Cassidy (Jamie Bell), Mike Ackerman (Anthony Mackie), Jack Dougherty (Edward Burns), Dante Marcus (Titus Welliver), Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), Suzie Morales (Kyra Sedgwick), David Englander (Ed Harris)
Director: Asger Leth
Theatrical release: 01/27/2012 DVD Date: 05/29/2012
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 102 minutes
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Review: It's always a little telling when the final credits of a film are more interesting than the film itself. That's probably a bit unfair when talking about Man on a Ledge, since this is a generally entertaining film. It's just that it is a seriously flawed and not terribly interesting one.
It's probably safe to say that there isn't a single page of screenplay originality in this film. Every scene has been lifted from somewhere else. There's possibly a good trivia game that can be embedded here: In what other movie did we see this exact scene? Bonus points for reciting the actors' lines before they do. The good news is that, in its totality, the end result is rather enjoyable. The bad news is that, in its totality, it is utterly predictable and once seen, eminently forgettable.
Let's start with the title and the film's premise. A man walks out on a ledge pretending to suicidal, just to distract everyone — local residents and workers, street denizens, politicians and police, and of course the news media — from what's really important to him: stealing a valuable diamond from a Donald Trump-like character, whose Fort Knox-like office is across the street, and from which his accomplices are doing that very thing at this very moment. Are there easier — much easier — ways of accomplishing the same thing? Of course. Is anyone (in the film) going to be fooled by the man's attempt at diversion? Of course not. He's a former police officer convicted of a high profile crime so his identity is well known to anyone and everyone and will be quickly ascertained. That it takes so long is more than a little embarrassing for the tax-paying viewers, who want to have at least a little faith in the crime-solving abilities of our police force. So what's the point of him trying to hide his identity? That's one of the many, many unanswered questions viewers will have while watching Man on a Ledge. In fact, the film should come with a warning: "Significant plot holes ahead. Proceed with caution."
The heist itself, however, is probably the best scripted part of the film, but it isn't given much screen time and is oddly played for laughs instead of suspense.
The generally very good actors do their respective jobs well, though none of their roles are memorable in any way. Sam Worthington seems to forget that he's playing an American ex-cop, more importantly, a New York ex-cop, and frequently lapses into his broad Australian accent. More carelessness on the part of the director resulting in unintentional humor.
While it is easy to go on and list all the things that are wrong with this film — and it would be lengthy list indeed — the bottom line is, it's rather entertaining. Go figure. And that's probably all that matters.