Man on a Ledge (2012) Directed by Asger Leth. Written by: Pablo F. Fenjves. Starring: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks and Jamie Bell. IMDB says: “As a police psychologist works to talk down an ex-con who is threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel rooftop, the biggest diamond heist ever committed is in motion…”
The latest thriller to hit theaters, Man on a Ledge, doesn’t exactly hit top marks in it’s genre but succeeds with a more important goal: pleasing the audience. The film stars Sam Worthington as an ex-cop / escaped inmate named Nick Cassidy who catches police and media attention once he perches himself on the ledge of a building. Elizabeth Banks plays the cop handling the negotiation with Cassidy as she also tries to discover if his claims of innocence are valid. Neither actor mentioned above are at the top of their game here. Banks, who I normally love to see challenging herself, just seems like an ill fit with the character. And Worthington is a solid actor when given the right material, but in Ledge he tends to grapple with the Liam Neeson syndrome and has a hard time completely dropping his accent. With the rest of the cast there are similar issues but the overall film doesn’t seem to be too concerned with reaching Oscar level heights.
It’s not really a cop out to imply that the film didn’t strive for outstanding performances, therefore it shouldn’t be held to similar standards, because I don’t believe it’s genuinely the film’s intention. See, even with the story behind the film, the audience is not left in heaps of mystery or uncertainty. The film pulls you in with just enough suspense and clear characters to root for and against. We know the main bad guys, we are pulling for the good guy and there are just enough, and not too many, subplots weaved in to keep us involved. If the movie had been elevated by an entire cast of top notch performances, would the overall film still have been better? In one respect, absolutely. But the overall objective of the film seems to be more concerned with cheers and applause.
Even with some stifled performances and cookie cutter characters, it doesn’t detract from the events that unfold on screen. Most information provided to you let’s you fall into a film that just wants to entertain. It’s fantasy and the subject should be considered just as lightly. I was pretty satisfied with the film and would easily recommend it as some light viewing material, possibly a matinee or rental. The crowd I was with seemed equally as won over, with most of them clapping and happy with the end.