Film Review: Man on a Ledge

July 15, 2013 8:32 pm

Man on a Ledge has a head start when it comes to shaking up the excitement levels. Within three minutes of the opening, there is a man on the side of the building. Look no further folks, we’ve got ourselves a breathtaker. There is a simple reason for this: if you don’t get vertigo and aren’t uncomfortable by heights, you must get excited by them. Heights affect people, no matter how cool one tries to play it.

And yet, the story never gets you to gasp with anticipation as the main characters prove to be as light as the paper they were written on. Sam Worthington looks the part of cop-turned-con Nick Cassidy who steps out on the ledge to prove his innocence while his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) carries out a robbery next door. But even he doesn’t seem completely convinced. The only time emotions stir is when he is plucking up the courage to step on the ledge at the beginning of the film. Since the trailer uncovers that he probably won’t jump, it is his personality that should excite us further. However, after stepping out on the ledge, he seems not to have much to say at all.

Another potentially meaty character is Lydia Mercer’s (Elisabeth Banks) self-doubting negotiator asked to deal with Nick’s case. Mercer is a catharsis waiting to happen, but no one either took the time to explore it or dared to take the plunge of making her more than her luxuriant hair. Mercer’s badly chewed over character is a few shades from just another romantic blonde who needs to be relieved of her guilt by the ledgy hero.

man-on-a-ledge-03It turns out that the robbery that Nick is trying to distract everyone from is where the action actually happens. His brother Joey and his overly sexy girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) pull a robbery that is neither particularly smart nor particularly witty, but it features near misses, close calls, sarcastic comebacks and Angie in underwear. What else could you need from an action film? And this is where Man on a Ledge gets a passing grade. Man on a Ledge is not a crime film or a thriller. Who set up Nick Cassidy is in the end irrelevant and the action is entertaining enough to keep you slightly amused till the end (you did pay for that theatre ticket).

But we’ve seen dirty cops and wrongfully accuseds done before and done to death. On the other hand, Bell doing pirouettes while Rodriguez pounces around with her cleavage exposed out of questionable necessity, changing into and out of tight-fitting outfits in between quibbles about how to properly commit the biggest robbery ever made? Even with the weak comebacks, the man on the ledge was a properly annoying distraction from where all the fun was happening.

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