June 4, 2012

Filthy Review - Man on a Ledge

Man on a Ledge (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

You just have to love the high concept movie. Well, you don’t have to, but when they are done well they can be great fun. We’ve had terrorists in a high rise in Die Hard, a bomb on a bus in Speed and now a man on a ledge in Man on a Ledge. Genius. Now, I will admit to thinking that surely this was some kind of joke when I first read about the movie. I mean seriously, a movie about a man standing on a ledge? It’ll either be boring as hell or depressing beyond belief. I was very wrong though; this movie was a blast.

The movie is about a man on a ledge, but there is a bit more to it than just that I assure you. Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is an ex-cop who is sentenced to a 25 year stretch for stealing a $40 million diamond from business mogul David Englander (Ed Harris). Nick continues to plead his innocence, claiming he was framed, but no one is having any of it.
So, an audacious plan is set into motion that involves Nick escaping and along with help from his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s girlfriend Angie (the wonderfully named Genesis Rodriguez) they set about proving Nick’s innocence by stealing the diamond for real.

It’s all preposterous stuff, it really is, but it is done with such conviction and high energy that I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the action. Granted, Nick does spend the majority of the movie on the titular ledge, aside from a cool car chase near the beginning, which leaves most of the action to Joey and Angie in scenes reminiscent of Ocean’s Eleven.

Along for the ride are Elizabeth Banks as the police negotiator, and Ed Burns as a detective, both of whom want to find out exactly why Nick is on the ledge, and more pertinently who he is. William Sadler turns up as a hotel concierge, which I thought was strange, but does end up making sense in the long run. All in all the cast know what they are dealing with here, this movie isn’t going to win any Academy Awards, and play their parts as such. Ed Harris gets to ham it up as the villain and does a good job with it, and the leads of Worthington and Bell both seem to be having fun in their roles.

Like I said, it’s all daft and completely ridiculous but through the majority of the film you just don’t care. Some films are just there to entertain, and this is one such flick, no great pretensions and delusions of a higher purpose, just out and out fun. Director Asger Leth seems to be well aware of this and delivers a taut and vertigo inducing thrill ride. Where he does let things go a little though is in the final ten minutes or so when the movie goes from ridiculous to downright unbelievable, and cops out with a bit of a crowd cheering, back-slapping type ending. It’s Hollywood though, and for 90% of the film it delivers on the thrills.

I didn’t expect to like Man on a Ledge quite as much as I did, that is for sure. As high concept action thrillers go though it is a good one. You aren’t going to get the adrenalin rush of the aforementioned Die Hard or Speed, which in all honestly are high concept of the highest quality; instead you will get a thoroughly entertaining flick that doesn’t quite reach the pinnacle, although it does make a damned good fist at it.

Man on a Ledge is definitely the sort of film that I can see myself watching again. Whenever I feel the need to disengage my brain and just chill, this flick will most certainly fit the bill. Damned good fun.

Man on a Ledge is available on Blu-ray and DVD from Summit Entertainment.

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