Los Angeles Premiere of "Man on a Ledge".Grauman's Chinese, Hollywood, CA.January 23, 2012. (Bauer Griffin)more pics » The Bottom Line
Should you see it?
Generic and dull, you'll have a better time renting any number of heist movies instead of seeing this.
Man on a Ledge
is a poorly executed film. The characters are straight out of television and the resolution is entirely predictable. There is only one way it can end and indeed it does. If you can ignore the continuity gaffes, chalk up police mistakes to movie disbelief, and tolerate Sam Worthington
's inconsistent American accent, you will probably like Man on a Ledge
. The film features a compelling idea involving misdirection (although stolen from Hitchcock
) and an evil turn by the great Ed Harris
, but any thinking person will be left unfulfilled by this garden-variety action crime caper.Man on a Ledge
pivots around, yup, a man on a ledge. Played by Worthington, Nick Cassidy is an ex-cop who lands in prison but escapes in a ridiculous sequence involving the dumbest cops on the planet. Cassidy was convicted for stealing a diamond belonging to a real-estate mogul, David Englander (Harris), but insists he was framed. He and his brother, Joey (Jamie Bell
) and Joey's girlfriend (Genesis Rodriguez
) devise a scheme to get revenge on Englander by stealing the diamond for real this time.
The plan is to put Nick up on a ledge as a suicide jumper while Joey and Angie steal the diamond next door. Nick will attract all the attention of the cops and public and allow for an easier entrance to Englander's vault. Why does Nick set up shop in a building right next to where the heist takes place? Wouldn't it make sense to do it at least a few blocks over? Within the reality of the movie, they need to be close so the brothers can see each other in one scene (for no real reason) and so Nick can warn Joey when four cops head over to the vault to check on the diamond. Call me cynical, but plot elements which exist simply to make the story easier to follow are insulting.
While on the ledge, Nick requests Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks
) to handle the negotiation. Mercer is a negotiator who lost a jumper a month ago so she's guilt-ridden and disgraced. She and Jack Dougherty (Ed Burns
) handle the negotiation. Burns plays Ed Burns as he always does: wise-cracking unfunny lines with smug abandon. His Dougherty is a walking cliche. Banks does well-enough, but her character contradicts herself by the end of the film.
In one scene, she shows her meddle by "tricking" Nick into
smoking a cigarette. She needs his fingerprints to ID him, as part of his scheme is to stay anonymous. For a guy with such a well-oiled plan, he allows her to get his fingerprint a little too easily. Man on a Ledge
is full of moments like this. In another scene, Joey runs up against a heat sensor in the vault, but solves the problem by icing it with a fire extinguisher. How convenient it was there! How convenient also that Nick and Joey can communicate by radio while Nick is on the ledge. I suppose the NYPD hasn't figured out how to check radio frequencies. At least have them talk on cell phones.
Joey and Angie are another problem. Bell plays Joey with some urgency, but Rodriguez is sorely out of her element. She was obviously cast for her one scene where she slips out of her clothes and into a wet-suit a la Catherine Zeta Jones
to enter the vault. It's the vault suit! After they get into the vault, Angie has changed back into her cleavage-exploding tank top. Amazing that this time-sensitive diamond heist has enough time for not one but two wardrobe changes! Asger Leth
directs, but does nothing to separate himself from the multitude of other no name TV directors out there. The score by Henry Jackman
pounds away incessantly, telling the audience what it doesn't need to know. The production is just too common to warrant any kind of recommendation.
All in all, the film is good for a laugh, doing little to distinguish itself from other heist movies. The vault scenes are unoriginal and boring, the characters never surprise, and, again, the details are sloppy and insulting. If you want to see a professional modern heist movie, check out Spike Lee
's Inside Man
. It is everything Man on a Ledge
wants to be.
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