Man on a Ledge review

Since the commercials for this film are giving away the entire plot…

Sam Worthington (Avatar) stars as Nick Cassidy, the titular Man who made his way to the titular Ledge as a means of proving his innocence in the theft of a priceless jewel.  Nick recently escaped from Sing Sing where he was serving time thanks to some corrupt cops and an evil cigar-smoking money baron (Ed Harris) who receives no more than ten minutes of screen time and is as one-dimensional as baddies get.  While the local media and law enforcement are occupied with Nick, his kid brother Joey (Tintin‘s Jamie Bell) and Joey’s impossibly hot girlfriend Angie (newcomer Genesis Rodriguez) are engaged in an elaborate and banter-filled heist of the aforementioned bad guy’s building just down the street.  Their high tech siege involves freezing heat sensors, dropping into rooms Mission: Impossible style, and various other trite heist film devices that are obviously way over the heads of the two young actors.  Yes, there’s also a “which wire do I cut?” sequence.  Their goal is to locate and steal the diamond that Nick supposedly stole and thus prove his innocence.  Meanwhile, Nick spends his time on the ledge where he chats with a likable cop (an effortless Ed Burns) and a crisis negotiator with a spotty record (a completely unconvincing Elizabeth Banks) who believes his story and soon uncovers the corrupt cops in their midst.  The film’s only real excitement comes at the climax when Nick jumps off of the building and the film’s end is finally in sight.

I hated every single minute of this lazy, write-by-numbers “thriller”.  This is junk screenwriting: sub-television cop show dialogue that lacks a subtext, but includes devices that would usually lead to one (Nick supposedly becomes a media sensation, just because; Kyra Sedgwick appears as the evil media though in no way does she come across as evil).  It’s like the screenwriter watched a bunch of mid-tier thrillers in the vein of Cellular and Phone Booth and threw in a dash of The Great Muppet Caper.  Remember 2004’s Paparazzi?  Come next year you won’t remember Man on a Ledge either.

NOTE: This is the feature fiction film debut of director Asger Leth, the Danish son of Jorgen Leth who was Lars von Trier’s mentor and star of 2003’s The Five Obstructions.

Man on a Ledge opens today in Philly-area theaters.

Official site.

Author: Eric Bresler

Eric is the Founder/Site Editor of whose additional activities are numerous: Director/Curator of the Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art (PhilaMOCA), founder of Tokyo No Records, the brain behind Video Pirates, and active local film programmer including the Unknown Japan screening series. He’s served as a TLA Video Manager, Philadelphia Film Society Managing Director, and Adjunct Professor in Cinema Studies at Drexel University. He is shy and modest. Email Eric.

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