‘Man On a Ledge’ takes a big plunge



The be­gin­ning of Man On a Ledge def­in­itely hooks you in, but as the movie goes on, you real­ize the plot is go­ing down­hill fast.

The movie be­gins with what ini­tially ap­pears to be a sui­cid­al man on a hotel ledge. We find out this man has just es­caped from pris­on and now he’s de­term­ined to clear his name or die. All good stuff, right?

Then — cue the yawns — we find out he’s a former po­lice of­ficer who claims to have been framed. Dir­ect­or As­ger Leth’s movie enters dis­ap­point­ing crooked-cop-clich&ea­cute; ter­rit­ory from here and nev­er really re­cov­ers.

Former NYPD of­ficer Nick Cas­sidy (Sam Wor­thing­ton) has been ac­cused of steal­ing a multi-mil­lion-dol­lar dia­mond from real es­tate ty­coon Dav­id Englander (Ed Har­ris). Fresh from a pris­on es­cape (huge plot holes abound dur­ing that scene), Nick perches him­self on the ledge of Man­hat­tan’s Roosevelt Hotel while his broth­er Joey (Jam­ie Bell) and broth­er’s girl­friend Angie (Gen­es­is Rodrig­uez) break in­to Englander’s nearby build­ing to prove the dia­mond wasn’t really stolen.

Ba­sic­ally, Nick’s just sup­posed to be a big dis­trac­tion while Joey and Angie pull off the heist across the street.

Eliza­beth Banks is Ly­dia Mer­cer, the ne­go­ti­at­or who tries to talk him down. Her char­ac­ter is really noth­ing spe­cial. Samuel L. Jack­son (from 1998’s The Ne­go­ti­at­or) she’s not. Mean­while, the crooked cops (is it me or does the NYPD al­ways get a bad rap in these movies?) are furi­ously try­ing to keep their evil deeds covered up; some have played a hand in the so-called fram­ing of Nick.

The most mem­or­able thing about the bland Sam Wor­thing­ton’s per­form­ance was his feeble at­tempt to hide his Aus­sie ac­cent. It made his whole “cop from Queens” char­ac­ter feel like a total sham.

As movie vil­lains go, Har­ris’ bad guy-in-a-suit Dav­id Englander is a lame one. He’s in the movie so little, he’s al­most a non-en­tity. The back-and-forth bick­er­ing between Joey and Angie likely was sup­posed to be com­ic re­lief, but I found Angie’s hot-tempered Lat­ina per­sona too ste­reo­typ­ic­al and tir­ing after a while. Also, the movie gives little to no in­sight as to how those two had the skills to cir­cum­vent a rather elab­or­ate se­cur­ity sys­tem. Those kinds of skills aren’t ex­actly every­day know­ledge.

Kyra Sedg­wick’s tal­ents are com­pletely wasted in a few scenes as Su­zie Mor­ales, the world’s most phony TV journ­al­ist.

One part of the movie I found very an­noy­ing — and even a bit un­nerv­ing — was the way the on­look­ers kept en­cour­aging Nick to jump. I mean, do people really do that sort of thing? For the sake of hu­man­ity, I would hope not.

The pace is fast, the movie is not all that be­liev­able (which is gen­er­ally OK if a movie is oth­er­wise en­ter­tain­ing), but the hokey Hol­ly­wood end­ing is really the icing on this not-so-great cake.

Man On a Ledge is ul­ti­mately a for­get­table movie at a time of year when people are still talk­ing about last year’s flicks and pre­dict­ing the movie stars who will go home with Oscar.

Still, I was mostly en­gaged in the plot, so that stops me from call­ing the movie a total waste of time. ••

Movie Grade: B-


You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

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