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“Man on a Ledge” – Early Review (SO-SO)

January 4, 2012

Asger Leth, the documentary filmmaker behind the captivating “Ghosts of Cité Soleil”, directs his first narrative feature in this risky plan heist film, “Man on a Ledge”. While the movie has some spine-tingling moments of captivation, as a whole, the movie is too by the book, and sometimes becomes a little too silly for it’s own good.

An ex-New York City cop turned fugitive, Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), threatens to jump to his death from a Manhattan hotel rooftop. The nearest New York Police officer immediately responds to a screaming woman and calls dispatch. More Officers arrive with SWAT, tactical command, fire fighters, and a jumper inflatable safety net. The police then dispatch a female police psychologist, Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), personally requested to talk Cassidy down from the ledge. However, things aren’t as straightforward and clear cut as they appear to be.

While Nick remains on the ledge, his younger brother Joey (Jamie Bell) & Joey’s girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), are across the street breaking into a building, the three of them are pulling off a risky heist, by stealing back a diamond that Nick was set up with of stealing to begin with, that got him his 25 year sentence in prison. The diamonds owner, David Englander (Ed Harris) is a crooked business man, he owns cops at his will, and stops at nothing from preventing Nick to reach his target…to save his name.

The whole heist itself is a clever one at best, but everything goes too right for our heroes. It follows similar heist film ploys, tricks, and trades. It borrows from “The Fugitive”; a man trying to clear his name of crime he didn’t commit, and most notably the movie borrows too much of Spike Lee’s “Inside Man”. “Man on a Ledge” is without question recycled heist film jargon we’ve seen countless times and doesn’t dare to challenge the audience. Now, that being said, does this make the movie unwatchable? No.

With its flaws, the movie is entertaining. It’s a popcorn film, plain and simple. You’ve got a well-rounded cast, one that I didn’t mention who’s in the film is Edward Burns as the first detective on the scene. I can’t hate on Eddie Burns. Sam Worthington has proven himself in the past few years that he’s leading man material for U.S. audiences, after being a sensation in his native country of Australia, he’s done pretty well for himself here in the States. Still, he can’t do a good American accent, I’m sorry but you’re not fooling anyone Sam.

There are a few predictable twists and turns, one that I don’t think many saw coming, but at the same time should have, was a little bothersome. It’s around the last 3 minute mark of the movie, and how it’s revealed, well, it just doesn’t quite make sense how it’s connected from the beginning of the film to the end. How could they have pulled that off? That was the one frustrating thing for me other than that the movie is watchable. I suppose all the sequences with Jamie Bell & the super hot Genesis Rodriguez should have bothered me, their camp was just a little too campy, but at the same time they had decent chemistry.

With all the movies that January offers us every year, being the month that studios dump their least favorable films, this one seems likely to be a success. It’s PG-13, it’s a heist genre, which should have some kind of appeal, and it’s something that is not an Oscar movie. For people who just want to escape the Oscar season buzz, and want to have good old fashion fun, then see it, it won’t hurt you.

GRADE: C+

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