A film that wins the award for the least creative title, Man on a Ledge evokes moments from better movies while forgetting to inject any originality or thrills in its worn out premise.
Negotiation thrillers are a dime a dozen, yet once in a while a film will come along that puts a fresh spin on the same ol’ formula. Man on a Ledge is not that film.
Sam Worthington stars as Nick Cassidy, an ex-cop turned fugitive who walks into a hotel, gets a room on the 20th floor, orders champagne and lobster, and then climbs out of the window and on to the ledge.
When police psychiatrist Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) comes on the scene, Nick lays out his case that he is an innocent man who was framed for stealing an expensive diamond from real estate magnate David Englander (Ed Harris).
While half the audience takes in this plot point, the other half won’t be able to ignore how the newly mullet haired Worthington reminds of Mel Gibson from his jump-off-of-a- building Lethal Weapon days. That Worthington’s American accent constantly slips back into his native Australian is another distraction.
Other characters and plot points feature, yet best kept aside here for mystery’s sake. One thing that has to be mentioned is the involvement of Genesis Rodrigeuz who plays an important part in the film, yet most men will instead remain transfixed on her bountiful features which she flaunts at every opportunity.
What is certain is that Man on a Ledge lives up to its title, with Worthington living on the edge through most of the film. Yet this is a novelty that quickly becomes tedious, with whatever tension that director Asger Leth builds quickly becomes flaccid. This is thanks to Pablo F. Fenjves’ screenplay which is filled with cliché upon cliché, and not an interesting idea amongst the recycled material to make us care for the main characters plight.
The rest of the cast don’t fare any better than Worthington, sharing the same “Noo Yawk” accent while going through the motions. Outside of Rodriguez’s TNA parade the only stand out is Ed Harris, who does his intense screaming shtick and does it well…but not well enough to save Man on a Ledge from falling into certain cinematic oblivion.
For this type of negotiation-heist-thriller there are much better films to watch that will save you the price of a movie ticket. Phone Booth, Inside Man, Dog Day Afternoon…these are the films which Man on a Ledge aspires to be. It fails.