Man on a Ledge: Don’t look down

Determined to prove his innocence, escaped felon Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) takes his desperation to new heights. Literally.

Having been convicted for stealing a $40 million diamond from tycoon David Englander (a steely Ed Harris), Nick clambers onto the ledge of a high-rise hotel in Manhattan and threatens to jump unless his demands are met.

Brought in to negotiate with Nick is Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), a disgraced cop set on averting Nick’s suicide mission. Unbeknownst to Mercer and the NYPD, Nick’s foolhardy stunt contains ulterior motives, as his brother Joey Cassidy (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) use the distraction to break into Englander’s office across the street to steal the supposedly stolen diamond.

The problem with having your main character teeter on a ridge means that much of the film is spent on a stationary setting, and the biggest dilemma is the audience has to grapple with is “To jump or not to jump?” and after about five aborted attempts, that question gets old. Sam Worthington may have done all right in action blockbusters like Avatar and Terminator: Salvation, but he lacks the dramatic gravitas needed to keep the audience riveted without guns and whistles.

Thankfully, little brother Joey has a more exciting day, as he and his girlfriend have to break into a high-security vault with their amateur heist skills, which lead to much amusement and tension as the couple squabble and bicker their way to the diamond and making up for any logical inconsistencies in having nonprofessional burglars break into a millionaire’s lair.

Elizabeth Banks is likeable as Lydia Mercer, but her character (like many others in the movie) suffers from a lack of believable back story and development. Ed Harris is also wasted as villain Englander, who seems to be your stereotypical wealthy tyrant (although having Ed Harris as your villain is enough to intimidate anyone).

Except for a little twist at the film’s conclusion, Man On a Ledge fails to really cough up any new surprises for an action-packed thriller. Director Asger Leth uses a number of vertigo and claustrophobic inducing shots and milks as much tension as possible from the movie, but with a lacklustre script it’s difficult to wring out much excitement and suspense.

Movie: Man on a Ledge
Rating: 2.5/5
Opens: Mar 1
Duration: 102 Mins
Language: English
Age Rating: PG
Genre: Action, Thriller

Director: Asger Leth
Cast: Sam Worthington, Jamie Bell, Elizabeth Banks


About Serene Low

The final-year Mass Communication student in Ngee Ann Polytechnic possesses a very active imagination and a sizeable DVD collection, which she spends an unhealthy amount of time with. Her greatest adventure so far was making the perilous journey to the supermarket, where she had to interact with intimidating strangers.