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This is one of those movies in Blockbusters you are not quite sure about. You would wait until it was on the cheaper rack and at a price you were happy with for its average rating in the film books and make the rent. In this case Blockbusters closed down before it made the cheap rack and so it became a movie in that other rewarding category where a film you want to see finally makes terrestrial TV and you immediately set the Tivo to record it, a certain satisfaction that its come around.
Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) escapes prison when his father dies as he attends the funeral outside of the pen. He has always claimed he was innocent for the crimes he was convicted for but his appeals falling on death ears so legs it. In desperation he checks into a hotel, has his last meal and writes his suicide note and steps out of the window ledge ten stories up. The cops are called and the jumper specifically asks for Agent Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), assigned to talk him down. This is not the last odd request from Cassidy and it quickly becomes clear that this is no ordinary potential suicide as a large crowd gathers below in Downtown Chicago.
A man called Joey(Jamie Bell) and his sexy assistant Angela(Genesis Rodriguez) takes the opportunity to exploit the commotion across the street and have a mission of their own,planning to break into the offices of a one David Englander (Ed Harris), a very powerful man, who seems to link all our main protagonists. And as the crowd grows calling for the man to jump its looking increasingly obvious that Cassidy has another agenda.
Now, if you're prepared to suspend your brain for a bit and drop into popcorn action movie mood for the night then this is ok fun. It's not the best action movie you ever will see but not the worse. Yes it's very silly at times and hardly credible with a fairly ludicrous plot and less than exciting cast but the fact the film knows that lets them get away with it. But it's balancing on that edge for being a stinker. In fact this is a fag end away from being a TV movie, the ending straight out of Colombo or even Scooby Doo.
Like Ethan Hawke, Worthington lacks that leading man charisma and the girls just candy floss, a rare Hollywood role for Jamie ?Billy Elliot' Bell and the vanishing Edward Burns, another couple of actors that didn't quite have it for a leading role.Its 42 million dollars did a feeble 46 million back, Man on the Ledge 2 not happening any day soon folks.It starts well though as the mystery unravels and the action increases but once the big twist is revealed it's very much a ?you have to be kidding' moment. But, like I said, not everyone is as clever as you and they need gorgeous people and safe cliches in their action movies to sleep at night. Think Tower Heist meets any other action cop movie and you are in the right ballpark, an unsophisticated crime caper with just enough comedy, action and intrigue to make it credible.
I always like a good film, and this weekend I spotted Man on A Ledge was showing on channel 4. It is a movie I had wanted to watch for a while so I set my TV to record as I was out in the evening. Being a relaxing Sunday, I finally caught the chance to catch up with the film and I must say I really enjoyed it!
***Film Only Review***
Sam Worthington plays a man called Nick Cassidy, an ex-cop, currently in prison for stealing a precious diamond. Nick has always protested his innocence; however his opportunities to appeal have since been exhausted.
Upon hearing that his father has passed away, Nick attends the funeral on a day pass and during an altercation with his brother manages to escape. With a big manhunt set out for him, in order to proclaim his innocence he goes to a hotel and climbs out on the window ledge. However his motives seem somewhat shaky and you never quite know who to trust or what the next twist will be!
I remember when this film was in the cinema I had seen the trailers for it, and had always wanted to see it but never got round to it! I contemplated buying the DVD but often find I never watch DVD''s more than once so it really is just a waste of money. When I saw this on channel 4 I knew I had to watch it, and it really didn''t disappoint.
I quite liked Sam Worthington as the lead actor although I felt he was a bit on the chunky side for the role! He is a good looking chap, so with loads of close ups and screen time dedicated to him standing on a ledge it really didn''t go amiss! He put on a stellar performance as a man wanting to clear his name and willing to go to any length to do so, so I felt this film brought out the best in his acting credibility.
Jamie Bell plays Nicks brother Joey Cassidy. As a brit. I felt he did well at an American accent, with his sidekick girlfriend Mandy Gonzalez as almost a comedy duo. Their scenes together bring some light relief to a somewhat tense film when you never know what is going to happen to Nick across the way out on a window ledge. Another actor who I quite liked was Anthony Mackie as I had only seen him in Eminem''s film 8 Mile, so here as a ruthless cop he showed a complete different side to his acting abilities and I was thoroughly impressed.
In terms of storyline, about halfway through I felt the film fell a bit flat as I could completely see where it was going and it was really predictable. Such a shame as up to that point I was gripped, trying to piece scene after scene together and work out where the film was headed. The execution of it felt rushed and the end seemed somewhat clumsy and bog standard. There was of course the typical underlying romantic plot line running through between our man on the ledge and the woman hired to talk him down which I really felt was strongly unnecessary. .
On the whole I still rather enjoyed watching this film and didn''t feel it was a time in my life I had wasted watching this film. I would thoroughly recommend watching it on an evening in with some popcorn on the sofa. I wouldn''t necessarily buy it on DVD as I am actually quite reluctant to buy most films on DVD as usually after seeing them once I cannot watch it again without good reasoning (my same theory on not believing in going on the same holiday destination twice, might aswell experience something new right??) but I would still give it 4 out of 5 stars!
RELEASED: 2012, Cert. 12
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 102 mins
DIRECTOR: Asger Leth
PRODUCERS: Lorenzo di Bonaventura & Mark Vahradian
SCREENPLAY: Pablo F Fenjves
MUSIC: Henry Jackman
Sam Worthington as Nick Cassidy
Elizabeth Banks as Lydia Mercer
Jamie Bell as Joey Cassidy
Genesis Rodriguez as Angie
Anthony Mackie as Mike Ackerman
Ed Harris as David Englander
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Sam Worthington books a room in a posh New York hotel. Once inside of his room, he opens the window, steps out and precariously balances on the narrow ledge. A crowd gathers below, wondering if he will jump.
Police negotiator Lydia Mercer is called in to try and talk Sam inside and off of the ledge. During her conversations with him and after a brief forensic test is performed on a cigarette she offers him which he takes a few puffs on, it is discovered that Sam is both an ex-policeman and a criminal who has escaped from prison. His crime which put him in prison was an alleged attempt at stealing of a priceless diamond from David Englander, a cold, calculating multi-millionaire businessman. Sam has always insisted he was totally innocent of this crime.
On the ledge and whilst Lydia attempts to draw Sam out, it seems that he is preoccupied, occasionally casting brief glances towards a building across the street and whispering into what I assume is a mobile phone hidden inside the breast pocket of his jacket. In this building opposite, Sam's brother Jamie and girlfriend (Jamie's girlfriend) Angie are, under Sam's instructions, attempting to steal the aforesaid diamond from David Englander's safe in his office. Sam's mock suicide threat and balancing on the ledge outside of his hotel room window is merely a ploy, designed to distract the emergency services and the public from what Jamie and Angie are doing.
Meanwhile, the crowd below is transfixed, some people even urging Sam to jump from the ledge, simply because they probably want a bit of excitement in their lives.
Having read some mixed opinions on Man On A Ledge whilst browsing through various internet sites some while ago, I decided to watch it for myself.
There is a little opener where handcuffed Sam is allowed to attend a funeral, closely watched over by Mike Ackerman, who he stayed friends with since his cop days. I found this introduction to Man On A Ledge a little dreary, and unless I blinked and missed something important, I couldn't see its relevance to the rest of the film.
However, things warmed up just a bit once Sam had booked into the posh, several-storey high hotel and climbed out of his room window onto the narrow ledge underneath. At around this point in the film and just prior to it, the camera pans rapidly above the streets of New York, and this distracted me somewhat, plus made my eyes feel strange as the camera movement wasn't as even as I'd have liked. Once Sam was outside, high up above a baying crowd of onlookers, I did get a sense of vertigo, but soon got used to it and my stomach managed to remain in the right part of my body.
As the storyline unfolded, swapping backwards and forwards between Sam and police negotiator Lydia Mercer having some stilted conversations with one another and Sam's brother Joey with girlfriend Angie conducting a heist in order to rob wealthy David Englander of the precious diamond that Sam had been wrongly imprisoned for attempting to steal, I was a little disappointed because I was hoping the storyline would concentrate on a man who really was suicidal, being talked to, befriended, with the outcome being that he'd either be coaxed back indoors or jump to his death.....so, Man On A Ledge didn't quite pan out how I was expecting.
The music is of that rather dull type used for American TV cop shows, and that was largely how the film came across to me - something made for TV rather than the big screen.
Although passable, I wouldn't say any of the acting was particularly special, and I wasn't very keen on the personalities of the characters. I found them to be rather dry and soulless.
I did find the basic concept of the film, that being Sam causing a stir so as to distract attention away from the robbery his brother was committing, to be rather neat and at first, I was intrigued to see how the heist would evolve....but, I soon lost interest in that part as for me, it wasn't put across with any special degree of excitement. I also began to find Sam's antics high up out on the ledge of the building to be rather dreary....it was interesting at first, because until I found out why he was on the ledge (which is made obvious fairly early on in the proceedings), much of the intrigue and excitement evaporated for me.
However, I continued to watch, but towards the end, I became confused as to who was who and why people were doing what they were doing. The very ending of Man On A Ledge didn't come up to my expectations, as for me it removed any mild sense of intrigue the film had during its earlier parts.
All in all, I can say that Man On A Ledge is one of these half good and half not so good films that didn't live up to my expectations and it is unlikely that I'll want to see it again. As a whole, it lacked a certain punch that I feel was urgently and desperately needed in order to create a gripping, edge of your (my?) seat atmosphere. There was far too much of the damp squib element present throughout, although it is by no means the very worst film I've ever seen.
Would I recommend Man On A Ledge? I'm hovering on middle ground, as I do think it is a film which would hold appeal for some people, yet others would prefer to give it a wide berth. The tension levels really need hiking up, the characters need to be given more depth and the ending needs to be far more subtle than it is....plus, a surprise rather than as it stands, which is to a large degree predictable and not all that credible.
In summary, I'd say watch if you are curious, but don't expect to be especially moved in one direction or another as the film as a whole isn't all that exciting.....well, I didn't think it was.
At the time of writing, Man On A Ledge can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.49 to £129.00 (ridiculous!)
Used: from 44p to £10.60
Collectible: from £4.99 to £10.92 (all copies appear to be used)
Some DVDs on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK, but where this doesn't apply, a £1.26 charge should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
I love a good film where you just know that the premise of everything you see hides the real truth, that there simply must be something else going on beneath what we're shown. The trailer for Man On A Ledge is one such film, where we see the chaos and panic that ensues when a Mr Walker gets out onto the ledge of the 21st floor room he is in and threatens to jump. The city goes into panic, negotiators are called in and we're left none the wiser.
What we do get is a flashback to Walker (who we find out is really called Nick Cassidy) is an ex-cop in prison for a crime he says he didn't commit. We find out how he comes to escape from prison and get to the hotel, but again we're none the wiser on anything else. Director Asger Leth does a very good job of concealing most things throughout the film, and while I wouldn't necessarily call any of them twists, there are essential plot details that we need in order to completely understand why Nick is on the ledge in the first place. Leth refuses to budge, giving us just enough to keep us going but not so much that we just give up and find everything out too early.
In all honesty, revealing anything else about the film would be giving a lot away. Suffice to say that Nick is a man hell bent on clearing his name, and that there is a whole host of recognisable names included here in the cast list. Sam Worthington plays Nick, while he is supported by Elizabeth Banks and Ed Burns as negotiators, Jamie Bell as his brother, Anthony Mackie as his former cop partner and Ed Harris as a wonderfully evil villain in the form of a multi-millionaire building developer.
The action is fast paced and the plot development keeps coming, with enough variety with other characters that focus is shifted to maintain interest. Banks' character Mercer has a history of failed suicide negotiations which leads to a lack of confidence from her co-workers, in particular Burns' character, who is shifted off the detail because 'Walker' had asked for her by name. Then there's him wiping his fingerprints off everything in the room before heading out onto the ledge to make it harder for them to find out who he really is. All these things add up to build the tension and to reveal what is essentially a well crafted story. There are moments of humour, but weirdly only provided by Jamie Bell as Nick's brother. It seems as if it's more in tune with the character than the style of the film, which you could put down to characterisation, but I put down to the tension needing to be released somewhere and this is where it happened.
It's well shot, and aside from a few echoey moments on the ledge which indicate they're filming in a room and not on a ledge (!) the whole thing is done very realistically. There are strong stereotypes brought out during the film, the usual corruption, some clever moments and one particular moment right towards the end of the film which goes against my initial statement that there were no twists. It's a well done film, it kept me entertained and I'd recommend it. Good stuff.
Given a life sentence for stealing a huge diamond from tycoon David Englander, Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), on his day out of parole to attend his father's funeral, escapes and appears on a ledge in NYC, preparing to jump.
As detective Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) tries to talk him down, a highly orchestrated diamond heist is underway, as Nick is determined to prove his innocence.
The film is fast paced and sets up the plot very efficiently~ planting the seeds of doubt as to whether he will actually jump, or if there is something far more cunning in store for us~ whilst we don't know exactly what is going on, the clues that we are given along the way lure is in further and further.
Interspersing the talk (between Lydia and Nick) with the tense action (the diamond heist) really gives us a roller coaster ride of excitement and information which was done just right. There was a tiny bit of useless humour and annoyance from accomplice Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) but her Latino flavour did at times give it some heat.
As the movie built up to a climax, the film really got the tension building and I found myself holding my breath for what was to come. Unfortunately, that bubble quickly popped with the rather flat and convenient ending.
Sam Worthington- Nick Cassidy
Elizabeth Banks- Lydia Mercer
Also stars Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie and Genesis Rodriguez.
Sam Worthington doesn't do much for me in this role despite being the lead character- instead, the spotlight shines on Elizabeth Banks, who was genuine, emotional and strong in this role, certainly gaining momentum as she landed the role of Effie in The Hunger Games.
'Man on a Ledge' was surprisingly tense and thrived on tension building. With a suspenseful and cunning plot, it was a shame the climax burst into an easy and convenient ending. Nonetheless, this will offer you thrills and edge of the seat action which won't disappoint.
When I heard about this film, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Despite seeing some good ratings, I did wonder 'how exciting can it be to watch a man standing precariously on the edge of a building?'. I gave it a watch to find out for myself and was strangely impressed as it kept me entertained and proved to be more interesting that I'd expected.
Man On A Ledge was directed by Asger Leth who has worked on a few things in different roles, but only 1 or two and nothing I recognise, making this his first film director smash. We're introduced to a few strong cast members, the protagonist man on said ledge, and a New York atmosphere. We meet Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), a regular-looking guy checking in to a fairly upper-class hotel in Manhattan, ordering food service and no doubt paying a small fortune for the privilege. He then proceeds out of the window of his high up room, where he stands on the ledge like he's reading to say goodbye to the world. Except, there seems to be more than meets the eye to this guy, his motives, and his choice of hotel.
Cassidy quickly draws attention to himself, bringing gathering crowds of watchers below him, the media and the cops all to try and get him to safety. He makes a special request to speak to only Lydia Mercer, a recently disgraced negotiator whose life has become drunken and disorganised after a failed negotiation situation a short time back. None of the boys in blue seem too happy to have her in the room or talking to Cassidy, but it seems like the only option. Heading the op is Edward Burns, who seems a little easier with having Mercer around, but the pressure is on them to get Cassidy down. To start with, he seems like a jumper with no name, until a few sly tactics get him recognised as an ex-cop turned convict. He was sentenced for a multi-million dollar diamond robbery, only to escape the clutches of the law to stand on a ledge in order to prove his innocence. And I mean prove, as he seems to have formulated a rather complex and creative plan with his brother and his girlfriend; by committing a new crime, he hopes to prove his first 'crime' was a set up.
I won't say any more on the premise except that it is far more twisty and imaginative than I had expected, keeping you wondering what happened to Cassidy to get him convicted, and what will happen next. We get a glimpse of character backgrounds and events that occurred during the initial robbery in a piecemeal fashion, building up the tension and gently putting the pieces together for us as we're led down the current path of the guy standing on the ledge. Whilst he's up there, there's also the big storyline of what he's doing that no one can see whilst they're focusing on him, using his brother and his brother's girlfriend to risk themselves to prove his innocence.
I wouldn't have guessed where this film would have gone. Initially, I had thought it would be really boring. For a little while, I thought the whole film would literally have to be the guy standing on the ledge talking to another guy, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this wasn't the case. The premise was fairly simple, but done in an intelligent way. We're not told exactly what's happening straight away, but we are allowed to piece it together bit by bit as the film goes on. I wasn't overly keen on the ending as it seemed rather formulaic and thus disappointing, but I've seen worse.
The film created a decent sense of atmosphere and tension, building up suspense enough for me to wonder what's going to happen next, worry that the plan isn't actually going to 'go to plan', and that kept me interested. It had quite a good quality, well-rounded feel to it, with the cast, characters, scenes, script etc all well-chosen and employed. There were elements of lightness brought through by some characters, such as the relationship between Cassidy's brother and his girlfriend, and the fact that things aren't totally slick and ridiculously perfect gave the film a more realistic feel.
The cast includes Sam Worthington (as Nick Cassidy), Anthony Mackie (Mike Ackerman), Jamie Bell (Joey Cassidy), Genesis Rodriguez (Angie), Edward Burns (Jack Dougherty) and Elizabeth Banks (Lydia Mercer, the psych trying to get him off the ledge), amongst others. I thought the cast added credibility to the film, giving it a greater sense of being good quality and more of a blockbuster than it may have been without them and simply the somewhat misleading title; I thought it would be boring, but that was a rather inaccurate judgement.
I wouldn't say this had explosive action, rather, it seemed more understated. This seemed to work well because it was a bit of a secret mission kind of film, being intelligent and mysterious with action here and there that doesn't distract from the atmosphere of suspense. I liked how we see a storyline unravelling that others don't, and I also enjoyed not knowing everything early on and having to learn it along the way. I found it easy enough to watch, and didn't really find anything that irritated me too much that it put me off.
However, I would also say that the film is a little silly. I say this because not all of it seems entirely believable nor do all parts seem to make sense, so you could say there was possibly plot holes. How do characters do certain things? Well, we just believe they can and they did. Usually I find this kind of thing hugely annoying, but I was able to go along with Man On A Ledge and just enjoy it for being light and easy viewing, or 'enjoyable nonsense' as my boyfriend likes to call it.
Overall, whether I would recommend depends on what you're looking for and are in the mood to watch. If you can watch without thinking about the plot too much and enjoy it for what it is, a suspense/action flick, then it's easy enough viewing for a DVD night in. I actually quite liked it considering I wasn't expecting much from it, so it's worth a try.
DVD released 2012, rated Certificate 12
Selling on Amazon for £10
I suspect, but cannot confirm, that Man on a Ledge is what I like to refer to as a 'passport to Hollywood' movie. I don't claim to know the inner workings of the film industry, but I do get a sense from time-to-time that directors are being brought on board to make a throwaway, popcorn cinema-type affair in exchange for a future project of their choosing; or, at least one that will be more open to negotiation. It seems odd, otherwise, that this project would end up in the lap of Asger Leth, who has never directed a fictional feature before and whose only previous directing credit is for little-known documentary Ghosts of Cité Soleil. That said, he certainly doesn't do a terrible job here, taking an incredibly silly, high-concept story and making it as enjoyable as I think anybody possibly could have.
Ex-cop Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) has escaped from prison, where he was being held for a crime he claims he did not commit. On the run and with seemingly nowhere to turn, he stages a hotel room to give the appearance that he might be suicidal and climbs out onto the ledge, where he waits to be noticed. Before long, members of the public are lining the streets to watch the drama unfold before them as police and the media gather, all eyes on Cassidy thirty floors up, while right behind them Cassidy's brother (Jamie Bell) and his brother's girlfriend (Genesis Rodriguez) are staging the heist of the century. Assigned to negotiate Cassidy down from the ledge is Lydia Mercer, played by the lovely Elizabeth Banks, whose task soon changes from trying to work out if this man is suicidal to trying to work out if this man can be trusted. Is Cassidy trying to prove his innocence? Or is he trying to profit where he initially failed to do so? And amidst all of this, is someone in the police force trying to keep Nick quiet before the truth finally comes out?
Now, that all probably sounds like a bit of a mess - and the simple truth would be, yes, it is. The film sort of trundles along, never feeling like it needs to fully explain itself, offering snippets of information here and the odd massive reveal there. It's almost as if the filmmakers know their central premise is ridiculous, they know the audience are going to see the plot holes, they know they've got too many loose ends to tie up, but they really couldn't care less. They're just having fun, and they hope that you will too. And the truth is, I really did. I allowed myself to just go along for the ride this time and not ask too many questions of it, and I found that that was probably the best way I could have possibly approached this film. My biggest problem with Man on a Ledge was probably the way it ended. Screenwriter Pablo F. Fenjves seemed to have spent so much time constructing this convoluted, albeit scrabbled, tale only to cop out and go for the easy option right in the dying moments. I won't go so far as to spoil the ending, but if you do watch this film then keep an ear out for the most ridiculous 'let's tell the audience it's all over now' moment I've ever seen, from a reporter who appears several times during the film.
Some of the supporting cast do a really nice job here. I'm not usually one for boring people with lists of names, but when you have the likes of the brilliant Ed Harris, the always-decent Edward Burns, Titus Welliver, Anthony Mackie and even a small role for William Sadler (whose part in Die Hard 2: Die Harder will always make him a legend in my eyes) you can be fairly sure your characters are in pretty good hands. Bell and Rodriguez, as the two attempting to infiltrate a diamond vault, are really quite charming throughout and lend for a sweet, but altogether unnecessary, little epilogue. No one is on their best form here, but how can they be expected to really show up when all around them is the foul stench of potential disaster? How they even got this cast to sign the contracts is beyond me, quite frankly, but by some act of sheer alchemy, it all seems to come together to form something like entertainment.
Right smack bang in the middle of awards season, it's nice to sit down every now and again and watch a film that you don't have to think too much about in order to enjoy it. It might be silly, and yes it's high-concept cinema of the most questionable form, but Man on a Ledge is the type of film where you really can (if you allow yourself to) just sit back and be taken for a ride. It's not always pleasant, and you might come out feeling slightly less intelligent, but it's fun and cathartic and, when done right, it will give you a little thrill here and there. It will never be placed on any list of greats. In fact, it will no doubt be placed in the bargain bin soon after it's released on DVD. But that's not why these films get made. They get made so that we can root for someone, so that we might wonder when the twist is coming and what it will be, so that we will spend time in the company of friends laughing at how ridiculous but sort of cool that bit was, or this bit should have been. That is precisely where this film, in some perhaps uncertain measure, has succeeded.
Sam Worthington walks onto a ledge (not much surprise there). And although it would be many film critics' dream to see him fall to his death (because Worthington hasn't exactly made a lot of fans in the critics' circle), don't worry folks, he's not there to jump. As an escaped convict, he insists that on this day, everything will change, in one way or another. We are told that he's an ex-cop, and was imprisoned for allegedly stealing and subsequently selling off a 40 million-dollar diamond from the wealthy business David Englander (Ed Harris). He managed to break out and here he is now, on the ledge of the top floor of a hotel in New York. Just what on earth would possess him to do such a reckless thing?
As soon as he steps out to appear suicidal, the media frenzy starts. Reporters (mainly Kyra Sedgwick, a rather underused figure here) looking for a good story are even going so far as to flying a helicopter near him to get a close-up, which doesn't turn out to be a great idea for Nick Cassidy (Worthington). The gathered crowd of inappropriate New Yorkers are cheerfully chanting "jump, jump, jump" whilst police rescue teams are trying to avoid a violent scene. Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) is the negotiator called to the scene, and given that Nick specifically asked for her suggests that he has more tricks up his sleeve than he's in fact letting on. Her attempts to calm him down and to carry out useful conversation prove useless, as Nick appears to be caught up in an even bigger heist. For a man on a ledge, Nick is one busy man.
It turns out that his stunt on the ledge is nothing more than an elaborate distraction from what is going across the street. Nick's brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and his girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) are busy breaking into Englander's safe to actually steal the diamond this time, thus proving Nick's innocence. Nick needs to sell his "suicide" story long enough for Joey to retrieve sufficient evidence to clear his name once and for all. With Nick on the ledge, all eyes are on him, diverting both the public and police force away from Joey. It's a clever, intriguing plan, with its ambitious scale adding much pace and excitement to much of its running time.
Shifting back and forth between Nick's increasingly heated exchange with his negotiator and Joey's various tricks and turns breaking into the multi security-layered vaults of Englander, "Man on a Ledge" makes good use of its perhaps not outstanding but certainly likable cast to make up for its lack of originality or clever twists. Joey's break-in techniques are nothing short of everything we've seen before, and much better robbery heists have been filmed in the past. But with Bell and Rodriguez, the script manages to include some humourous banter between the two lovers, and as they quarrel and bicker over their relationship, the two amateurs, who have never done anything like this before, show that they're not quite up to scratch in their skills to break into a rich man's safe. It's precisely their lack of experience and knowledge that amps up the tension as their frequent slip-ups often threaten to ruin everything. But the fun chemistry between the two keeps their endeavours fresh and entertaining, no matter how silly their methods appear to be.
Hollywood productions dealing with cops usually requires a certain level of plot focus into police corruption and so it comes as absolutely no surprise that the ruthless Englander does have some dirty officers working for his selfish gains. Within such a short, compact script, it struggles to juggle a whole variety of characters, with frequent unexplained double-crossing, old police partners suddenly entering the picture, and loyalties being tested. Mercer has a background story of her own too, and although the frequent comic actress Banks may have been an unusual person to cast in the role of a guilt-ridden cop, Banks has a certain amount of charm that brings something original to her otherwise downbeat character.
Worthington doesn't stay on the ledge forever, as I'm sure many would be pleased to hear, but here is where things get a little weird and frankly, even more preposterous bordering on generating unintentional laughs. Worthington, solid as the man who has very little to lose and willing to risk everything to prove his innocence, makes one rash decision after another, and the absurd escalation of events throughout the final act goes along with this. There are kinetic chase scenes, improved in quality by the obvious use of heights, rooftops and even more ledges, but it's never quite stylish enough. Even when the villainous Harris, who needs no lesson in showing how to exude the bad-guy, mental nut-job charisma, faces off with the heroes, it never feels as though a lot is on the line. Perhaps it's the lack of strong characters, or maybe the predictability of the whole set-up. But the fact of the matter is, despite its good set-up and reliable group of actors, when it comes to the climax, even the surprisingly reliable Worthington (despite his slightly wonky accent, but we can look the other way for some slip-ups, he's not gunning for any awards here) cannot generate anything more substantial or noteworthy as it starts building its momentum.
Most likely to generate anger/laughter (delete as appropriate on how you handle a bad ending) however, is how shockingly idiotically the film's rapid conclusion comes about. There is a limit as to how far the audience's imagination can be stretched but the last few minutes of "Man on a Ledge" is simply taking it just too far. We believed that two highly untrained nobodies can outsmart state-of-the-art technology (yes, they do have help from Nick who has miraculously researched the vault to pin-point precision). We believed the impossible timing of some of its freakishly coincidental occurrences. But what it decides to throw in our face in the final scenes is not only wrong, but it's almost insulting to everyone who has patiently sat through the film waiting for a sensible ending.
But perhaps that is the part of this film's unique quality and what the audience gets to enjoy most; its complete and utter pride in embracing the film's many holes and one ridiculous event after another. Because if there is one thing the film avoids, it's boredom. Within its relatively modest running time, it packs in a lot of characters, some genuinely gripping moments, and although losing steam towards the end due to its hectic wrap-up, you might be pleasantly surprised by how entertaining the film turns out to be.
We saw this after seeing the trailer which created quite a bit of suspense and left me feeling curious about what would happen. I was also curious to see how some the cast would perform, particularly Jamie Bell. It is directed by Asger Leth and was released to UK cinemas on 3rd February and will be released to DVD on 11th June.
The film is about a man called Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) who books a hotel room in New York City on the top floor and climbs out onto the ledge and waits until passers by notice and signal the police. Before long the entire street has been cordoned off and the majority of NYC police are focussed on the area. The man specifically requests a particular suicide negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) In the meantime Nick's brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and his girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) are breaking into rich New York businessman David Englander (Ed Harris) heavily protected jewellery vault. Therefore the attempted suicide is merely a distraction while they do this.
I don't want to give anything else away about the plot so I cant explain why they are breaking into the vault as this isn't revealed until later on in the film and may spoil it for viewers. All the detail I have given above is information that was revealed in the advert anyway.
One of my favourite things about the film was the way in which the plot developed. From the beginning you are left in the dark with regard to the intentions of the characters and their backgrounds. This worked really well and gave me something to think about during the film, as well as allowing for the big revelation at the end where you find out exactly what is going on. The film was also very edgy and jumpy, this was partly caused by the fact that you really don't know what is going to happen next which left me feeling on edge.
Despite that I still found the film slightly boring...a lot of it was taken up by scenes on the ledge where Lydia was trying to talk Nick into stepping back into the room and then changed tactics to try and find out why he is doing it in the first place. These scenes are quite prolonged, I can partly understand why as in a real-life situation like this the 'jumper' wouldn't just give away their whole life story instantly, nor would they come back into the hotel room within seconds. However from an audience point of view this became a bit tedious, and the slow release of information combined with the fact that the backdrop remained the same for so long, made for a bit of a boring middle part of the film.
It was brought to life slightly by the jumps to and from the scenes involving Joey and Angie breaking into the vault. These scenes were both amusing and edgy, and I actually found it very entertaining. These parts were however very unrealistic. Although the pair struggled to get through the vaults security and had clearly planned very well, it still seemed a bit unlikely that they would have made it through even the first level of security...however they just somehow always seemed to get away with it! I know in films people have to get away with things or nothing would happen, but this took it a bit too far and left me rolling my eyes!
Towards the end of the film I found myself getting impatient for the ending, as I was curious to get the final conclusion of the story and see how it panned out. The ending, like some of the earlier scenes, was fulfilling and conclusive however also very unrealistic. I can't explain why without giving it away, but trust me it was. The ending cut out what would really happen in real life to provide the satisfying ending it needed to conclude. This seemed a bit of a cheat and annoyed me slightly. In my opinion true strong plots can conclude without relying on ridiculously unrealistic moments. I can cope with such moments in fantasy films, but this isnt a fantasy and should have been much more true to life than it was.
Overall the acting in the film was ok. I thought the performances of Sam Worthington and Elizabeth Banks were very good and they worked well together. I have heard of both actors yet hadn't seen too many films with them in so didn't have too much of an opinion prior to watching this film, however based on this particular film I would rate them both quite highly. Having said that I don't think that the roles they played were extremely challenging and probably didn't really take either of them out of their comfort zone.
I have mixed opinions on the performance of Jamie Bell, again I haven't seen a great deal of him in other films but did have a good opinion of him in 'The Eagle' (2011) I thought in this film he was convincing and natural, yet I just cant take to him. I get the feeling he plays most characters as though it is actually himself, and I don't feel like I've seen a variety of characters come out of his performances...instead it is as though he is playing himself. I wasn't left with a great impression of Genesis Roderiguez who plays his girlfriend Angie either. I felt her performance was quite boring and nothing memorable. She is a very pretty girl and the movie made the most of this, showing her in underwear etc. However I felt this was all she had going for her in this film, or at least all the film allowed her to be, which is a shame.
The movie is filmed in New York City therefore the backdrop obviously looks real and probably didn't take any effects to produce. I do assume however that effects/stunts were used for the ledge scenes particularly later on in the film where things develop from simply being stood on the ledge. Everything looked really realistic, and the jumpy camera angles and sound effects throughout the film gave a sense that you were actually there, so several times everyone in the cinema jumped and gasped when you thought he might jump/fall off.
I'm not afraid of heights but found myself feeling quite spooked and edgy, even though I knew it was just a film. It certainly felt real and gave you a real feel of what it would be like to be up there yourself. This added enjoyment to what were slightly boring scenes and overall I was really impressed with the way the film was produced.
The critics gave this one a bad rating and it only got 32% on Rotten Tomatoes and it was classified as a bit of a flop. I can understand why it got this reception was it was boring in parts and the acting wasn't strong from all main cast members. I also felt the unrealistic moments in the film were a bit lame and provided get out clauses for the plot to survive. Overall the film was entertaining in parts but uninspiring and unmemorable as a whole, therefore I would not recommend it.