Our Rating: 6/10
The basic premise of the Man on a Ledge is: “man walks out of a hotel window, stands on a ledge and threatens to jump, becomes a media circus, claims he’s doing it to prove his innocence, but really it’s all a huge smoke and mirrors effect, to assist a jewel heist and possibly to prove his innocence”.
Our man on the ledge is Mick Cassidy played by Sam Worthington, a disgraced New York cop who was arrested for stealing a $40 million diamond from shady businessmen David Englander, played by Ed Harris. Nick claims that he was framed by Englander for the insurance money and this is his only way to prove his innocence.
At this point the film gives everything a twist, as it turns out Nick’s stunt is a distraction from his brother Joey (played by Jamie Bell) and his girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodrigues) who are busy breaking into Englander’s vault across the street, to retrieve the allegedly stolen diamond and prove Nick’s innocence.
The film takes a big chunk out of The Fugitive’s book, although Sam Worthington simply doesn’t have the presence of Harrison Ford. And while it’s admirable that Man on a Ledge takes on many different issues and a couple of different film genres at once, none of them quite work.
A cop trying to prove his innocence by staging some form of ridiculous stunt has been done before, notably Samuel L. Jackson as the negotiator, and a man on the edge in front of the media was handled considerably better in Dog Day Afternoon.
Man on a Ledge is utterly harmless, which is only half a criticism as there are plenty of the worse films out there (in fact there are worse films starring Sam Worthington out there).
It wasn’t for the fact that there are so many good films out there at the moment Man on a Ledge would probably do okay box office, but as it’s going up against Young Adult, Carnage, The Descendants, The Artist, and Martha Marcy May Marlene it looks very much the runt of the litter.
There is a handful of decent actors adding to their retirement fund in this film with Elizabeth Banks as a negotiator trying to talk Nick down, Edward Burns (remember him) as gruff cop number 36, Ed Harris a brilliantly slimy businessman and Jamie Bell as Nick’s brother and funky burglar. It’s a good cast that deserved a better film.
Man on a Ledge ticks sufficient Friday night popcorn movie boxes that nobody should feel short-changed after watching it, but it’s almost instantly forgettable, when it should have been taught and gripping it’s bland and plodding. The most memorable thing about it is, it leaves you thinking that someday there will be a good film based around a man on a ledge threatening to jump that’ll really grab your attention and hold onto it for 102 minutes.