Man On A Ledge Review

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Escaped convict Nick Cassidy (Worthington) threatens to jump off a New York hotel. Negotiator Lydia Anderson (Banks) tries to understand his problems. Using the gathered crowds as a distraction, Cassidy's brother (Bell) breaks into a vault across the street.


At once a literal 'high concept’ and a ripped-from-the-headlines true story, the 1951 movie Fourteen Hours had Richard Basehart standing on a ledge, threatening to jump while a sensitive cop tried to talk him out of it. At heart, Man On A Ledge is that movie done again with Sam Worthington in Basehart’s unsteady shoes and Elizabeth Banks as the cop, adding a barrel-load of twists. Meanwhile, an Inside Man-style contrived heist movie starring Jamie Bell takes place across the way.

Fourteen Hours, followed by variations like The Ledge and an episode of Cat’s Eye, is all about the narrow focus, spending almost the whole running time on the ledge with the intense psycho-drama. With the amiable but not exactly over-sensitive Worthington as the leading man, it’s plain from the outset that a) the hero doesn’t really plan on suicide, b) he’ll eventually get off that ledge and hit someone and c) there’s going to be a payoff in which someone takes the plunge. Indeed, no sooner has coffee-clutching cop Banks established a rapport with the ruffled hunk than attention skitters off elsewhere. This is a crowded thriller, with sub-plots involving a boo-hiss billionaire (Ed Harris), the ex-cop hero’s ex-partner (Anthony Mackie) and a long-in-the-making Internal Affairs case, plus significant bit parts for Edward Burns and William Sadler.

It’s perhaps a problem that there’s less suspense and peril on the ledge than in the diamond vault where Genesis Rodriguez squeezes her pink underwear into an Emma Peel outfit to crawl through Mission: Impossible-style air vents and Jamie Bell is along for the ride as the seeming weak sister of a brother. It’s complicated rather than clever and you get all the high-tech robbery clichés not raked over this season by Tower Heist, but this is the sort of reasonably well-made, packed-full-of-folks-who-are-fun-to-watch popcorn-fodder picture you’ll enjoy if you get over the suspension-of-disbelief bump early on. With minimal screen time, Harris is Man Of The Match as a supremely nasty property developer with a diamond fetish, but Rodriguez — a stone fox with comedy chops — will probably get the most future work on the strength of her showing here.

It doesn't spend enough time on its ledge to be the definitive 'jumper' movie the title promises, but it’s a hoot if approached in the proper mood. Bonus marks for the street crazy who explicitly states the political subtext and plays a key role in the cl