- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Summit Entertainment
Reviewed by David Medsker
an, could this movie have benefited from a little misdirection. “Man on a Ledge” has an interesting story at its core, but plays its hand way too soon. Had they split up the two story lines so that they took place back to back instead of side by side, “Ledge” would have had a much better chance at becoming the movie it clearly wants to be, which is the next “Inside Man.” Instead, they went the linear route, which renders the plot toothless.
A man checks into the Roosevelt Hotel, eats a very fancy lunch, leaves a note, and walks out onto the ledge outside his room. In flashback, we learn that he is Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), a former cop and current prisoner on the lam after eluding security while attending the funeral of his father. When hostage negotiator Jack Dougherty (Ed Burns) arrives at the scene and tries to talk to Nick, Nick refuses to speak and demands Lieutenant Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), a fellow negotiator who recently suffered a very public disgrace. Nick slowly unveils information to Lydia in order to convince her that the $40 million diamond that he was accused of stealing from real estate mogul David Englander (Ed Harris) is still in Englander’s possession. The problem is that Nick lacks proof, which is where his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) come into play.
Here is how this movie should be assembled: we do not see Joey or Angie in action until well into the third act of Nick’s “side” of the story. Just show Nick talking to Lydia, and leave us to find out later that he was often communicating with his brother at the same time. There is a standoff at the end that would have served as a perfect launch point for the Joey/Angie story, at which point they go back, show what those two were doing while Nick was buying time on the ledge, and then finish the story once the audience has caught up. It’s gimmicky, yes, but it would have created some mystery in the first half and an adrenaline rush in the second, two things the movie is sorely lacking.
Sam Worthington needs to hire a new accent coach. Of the many Australian actors working today, Worthington is the only one who struggles when trying to sound like an American, and this might be his worst voice work yet. He has good screen presence, but the accent…ow. England-born Jamie Bell fares better, but good luck paying him much attention while he’s sharing screen time with the smoking hot Genesis Rodriguez, especially since every shot of her seems designed to draw attention to her (fabulous) cleavage. Elizabeth Banks gets some choice moments, only to suffer the indignity of barking “This is MY case!” into a walkie talkie minutes later. The rest of the cast are cogs in the plot machine, though Ed Harris deserves special mention for his unintentionally funny performance as the villainous Englander. If he had had a mustache, he would have twirled it.
“Man on a Ledge” has a good story, and possibly a great one, hiding within its contents. It just needs to be re-sequenced in order to be revealed. For those looking for another “Inside Man,” the wait, sadly, continues.