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RELEASED: 2011, Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 100 mins
DIRECTOR/SCREENPLAY: Matthew Chapman
PRODUCERS: Mark Damon, Moshe Diamont & Michael Mailer
MUSIC: Nathan Barr
Charlie Hunnam as Gavin
Liv Tyler as Shana
Patrick Wilson as Joe
Terrence Howard as Det. Lucetti
Christopher Gorham as Chris
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Troubled cop Det. Lucetti is called out to talk to Gavin, a young man who is standing on the ledge of a building, threatening to jump.
As the two men begin what is an initially stilted conversation, Gavin explains he has one hour on the ledge, and that regardless of anything anyone says to him, he will jump on the stroke of 12 noon. Although he seems to have definitely made up his mind that he will end his life and does seem anxious and preoccupied, Gavin oddly appears devoid of the despair, deep misery and depression which would be expected from somebody so obviously contemplating suicide.
The film then opens out, via flashbacks, into Gavin's personal story and what led him to be standing at the top of a multi-storey building, about to take the plunge and end it all. His interaction with Lucetti also highlights a major life problem the cop is undergoing.
At the beginning of The Ledge, I was tempted to think along the lines of "Oh, no, not another of these cop valiantly talks a depressive down from a building" films, but as the storyline progressed and opened up, I realised this one is a bit different in that it takes the issue of 'jumpers' and in this instance the reason for such, down a different route.
Immediately, I was enchanted by the character of nice guy Gavin, a hotel worker who falls for Shana, a young woman who is obviously very unhappy, unsuccessfully attempting to hide deep problems in her marriage. When Gavin and his gay flatmate Joe are invited by Shana to dinner at the apartment she shares with her hell, fire and brimstone born-again Christian husband, the reasons for her misery become immediately apparent.
As Shana's and Gavin's friendship quickly develops into love, I was warmed and heartened by the expressions of affection and care that Charlie Hunnam beautifully acted out, almost to the point where I wished he was permanently installed in my own life! Hunnam together with Liv Tyler as the sad-eyed Shana probably played their parts best, although both did struggle a little here and there. I was expecting a more polished performance from Terrence Howard as Det. Lucetti due to him being an actor I always have a lot of time for, but in The Ledge, he didn't quite deliver the goods. I am in two minds over Patrick Wilson's portrayal of Joe, the softly-spoken, exacting, somewhat creepy husband of Shana and am still struggling to decide whether his performance was really good or really bad. Christopher Goram's role as Chris, Gavin's gay flatmate, is less involved than the other main cast members, but he came across with a nice guy image equal to that of Gavin. I should say here that the issue of Chris being gay does have significant relevance to the storyline.
Giving some further thought to The Ledge and its main cast, I hesitatingly conclude that there is a strong possibility some of the acting appears to be flawed due to a script which isn't quite up to standard. Some of the lines are clumsily constructed, maybe resulting in the actors trying their best to be convincing whilst working with a far less than perfect dialogue.
However, The Ledge did grip me and I couldn't tear my eyes away from the screen, as the story cleverly unfolded. Some incidents within are a little too neat, but the plot does succeed in delivering more than one or two interesting surprises, as this isn't an ordinary story of boy meets girl, one dumps the other and the bereft one decides to end it all. There are more twists, turns and off the beaten track angles than that.
At the start of the film, I was expecting the bulk of it to be conversation between cop and potential 'suicidee' on a rooftop while crowds of onlookers gather below, but the concentration is focused on the flashbacks which tell the story of what leads Gavin to deciding his own fate and why.
I can't say I was aware of most of the musical score, but the little I did notice was quietly tense, softly orchestrated, with a little 'lounge' music during the film's lighter moments...of which there are few.
Overall I really did enjoy The Ledge and would certainly consider watching it again, even though I now know how it all pans out and what the ending is. It is an easy to follow/understand film that although isn't particularly gripping and didn't have me perched on the edge of my seat, does have an interesting storyline which travels down some unexpected avenues. The character development is strong, each being very believable, despite the actors trying - sometimes in vain - to cope with a less than perfect script, and I did feel totally involved whilst watching. However, and this could be due to a combination of some aspects of the storyline fitting too neatly together and occasional spurts of seemingly dodgy acting which could be down to the faults in the script, I was left with the feeling of something being missing....a kind of a spark which if present, would have rendered this into a great rather than a good film.
In summary, I do recommend The Ledge, even with its minor faults, particularly to people who are drawn to and enjoy a good psychological thriller/drama. The storyline does take some unexpected twists and turns, which render it not quite as run of the mill as initially expected.
At the time of writing, The Ledge can be purchased from Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.49 to £18.07
Used: from £2.18 to £8.98
Some items 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 ~~