‘Man on a Ledge’ (English)
Director: Asger Leth
Cast: Sam Worthington, Ed Harris, Elizabeth Banks, Edward Burns, Jamie Bell, Genesis Rodriguez, Anthony Mackie, Titus Welliver
When a guy who claims he wants to commit suicide clings on through a helicopter tailwind and a sudden scare, you know he’s not going to, like, actually jump. So, here’s the deal – Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is all angsty. The rest of New York's going about its life, but this guy miserably checks into a hotel, writes a note reading ‘I will exit the world as I entered – innocent’, wipes his cutlery clean and steps out of the window.
An old woman – with very sharp eyesight – points to him, and as the police cordon off the area, we go into flashback mode. Cassidy’s an ex-cop, who’s been sentenced to 25 years in jail for trying to steal real estate giant David Englander’s (Ed Harris’) diamond. His partner Mike Ackerman (Anthony Mackie) promises to dig up evidence, and tells him in passing that his father’s dying.
So, Cassidy attends his father’s funeral, turns the cops’ guns on them, makes a getaway, and somehow lands up on a ledge a month later. Tough guy cops Jack Dougherty (Edward Burns) and Dante Marcus (Titus Welliver) land up on the scene, but Cassidy will only submit to the ministrations of Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), a pretty negotiator.
The film seems to set out to prove that you can get Ed Harris, Sam Worthington and Jamie Bell to star in a movie that focuses on the stupidest way to prove one’s innocence –
• Risk your life, check
• Risk your brother’s life, check
• Risk your future sister- in-law’s life, check
• Risk your negotiator’s life, check.
You kind of wish someone would push everyone off the ledge when you find out the entire operation relies on two nincompoops who can’t even deactivate an alarm without guesswork. You want to jump in there and knock their heads together when they start flirting during a getaway. They bumble about so pathetically one can’t help thinking they’d have been better off using the Latina’s well-endowed curves to distract the security guards.
And the providential close shaves seem to be a higher power’s way of ensuring the film ends before the audience dies of boredom. As does the ridiculous idea that someone would trust his pockets more than a safe that’s proved impermeable. The dramatic music only serves to let us know there will be last-minute escapes, thereby killing those few cheap thrills.
The only moments of suspense for me lay in guessing which swearwords would be beeped out. Spoiler alert: The excessive usage of expletives in Spanish is completely overlooked. The only cliché the film sidesteps is a pun on “Scotch on the rocks”, but I suspect that’s because it didn’t strike the dialogue writers in time.