WRITTEN BY: Pablo F. Fenjves
DIRECTED BY: Asger Leth
STARRING: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris
RATING: 1 star
I can't even begin to explain how bad Man On A Ledge is. It started off with a promising concept, blending suspense drama with a heist. Unfortunately, the final half hour of the film became progressively more convoluted and ridiculous I found myself laughing and rolling my eyes at scenes that should have been keeping me on the edge of my seat with anticipation.
Policeman Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is convicted and jailed for stealing a $40 million diamond from tycoon David Englander (Ed Harris). When Nick is allowed out of prison to attend his father's funeral, he escapes custody and becomes a fugitive, climbing onto the ledge of New York's Roosevelt Hotel on Madison Avenue and threatening to jump. Nick says he will only negotiate with disgraced detective Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) but when she tries to talk him down, she realises there is more to Nick's story than the police first suspected. Meanwhile, Nick's brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and his girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) are organising a heist across the road. The twist comes in how these two story lines converge.
The film is completely implausible and yet, for the first hour I was keenly interested to learn what was going to happen. I could forgive the lame dialogue and Worthington's wavering American accent. I could even forgive some key plot holes because I was so swept up in the suspense. Unfortunately, the more I thought about the film and the further the plot dribbled along, I became increasingly frustrated at the fact that so many things made little sense. Sure, it was good that Bell and Rodriguez's characters were amateurs in their heist attempt, but they were dealing with security so high-tech they really should have been even greater amateurs. By the time we near the end of the film when Nick jumps more than 20 storeys and lands without the slightest injury all I could do was laugh at how impossible the whole situation was. There were so many more stupid moments like this but I don't want to reveal too much of the plot.
As for the cast, Worthington has again disappointed me with his accent. He's a good actor and yet, he struggles with the American accent in every Hollywood film. He couldn't sound more like a man from Rockingham if he tried. Surely he could have had a dialect coach on hand to help him? Aside from that, his performance was good, though nothing remarkable. Banks plays one of the few characters with any depth and she pulls it off well. Edward Burns has a small role as another negotiator and there's something very likable about him. Kyra Sedgwick also has a minor role as an annoying reporter, and wow, was she annoying. I'm sorry, but in my years as a journalist, I've only ever come across journalists that annoying in Hollywood films. Meanwhile, Harris seemed like he only appeared in the film to make some money. Bell, who despite 12 years passing, will always be Billy Elliot to me, and his character in this film was just plain boring. As for Rodriguez, yes, we get it, you're a very attractive woman but you don't have to undress to prove it to us. Who thought it was necessary to make her conduct a heist in a revealing, lacy, pink push-up bra and later completely strip to her underwear? You know a film is offering you very little when it has to resort to that level of semi-nudity to keep audiences entertained.
The more I think about Man On A Ledge, the more nonsensical it seems. If you're a teenage boy, go see this film. But my advice to everyone else is don't waste your money.