"I will exit this world as I entered it - innocent"
Tense thriller 'Man on a Ledge' wastes no time in pushing its audience members to the edge of their seats with its fast-moving, action packed plot.
The film centers around Nick Cassidy who was imprisoned for the theft of a ruthless millionaire's diamond. Nick's brother and his girlfriend team-up with the escaped convict in an elaborate plot to prove his innocence, a plot that centers around the risky distraction of a 'suicide attempt' on Nick's part. When Detective Lydia Mercer is called in as negotiator, unaware of the elaborate plot that will quickly unravel before her very eyes...
'Man on a Ledge' is the kind of thriller that everyone loves. It's tense enough to get the adrenaline pumping, it has eye-candy for both the male and female members of the audience and it is, for the vast majority of the screen-time, utterly predictable, with one very distinct plot-twist that you could not for the life of you see coming. Those who complain about said predictability are idiots for going to see a film that entire genre's is linked to predictable plots and mediocre acting.
A pleasant surprise to viewers is that the cast of 'Man on a Ledge' are actually very good. Sam Worthington is almost perfect as anti-hero Nick Cassidy, with only several accent slips letting his otherwise great portrayal down. I often found myself wishing that Elizabeth Banks had more screen-time, as I found that her performance was the most solid of the entire casts, as well as her character, Lydia Mercer, being the most interesting to watch develop. Mercer is evidently a flawed character, turning to prescribed drugs and alcohol to help her forget a traumatic event that has psychologically scarred her, an event that is only briefly mentioned in the film, and would have been better exploring in a more in depth manner. Many argue that Ed Harris gave the best performance of the film as the brutal millionaire, and although he was brilliant, he just didn't have enough screen-time to justify that comment. He had a huge presence on screen though, that is something that no-one can deny. In fact, the only real disappointment in terms of acting were Genesis Rodriguez and Jamie Bell in their 'comic relief' scenes. They were alright alone and even together when they were focused on the task at hand, but when the script called for them to start joking around, that is when they fell flat on their faces. And judging by some other reviews, it appears as though I am not the only one who found their banter hideously embarassing.
The cinematography was fantastic, it often reminded the viewer of how high up Nick was by changing to a POV shot, allowing us to see through the eyes of the lead and be able to understand just how terrifying it must be to have to stand on that ledge. The scene where the camera turns to a POV shot, showing Nick's feet run towards the edge as he attempts to create a distraction for his brother is enough to give anyone vertigo. One thing I did not like about this film however was the blatant caricature of modern society, shown via the vicious crowd, who several times throughout the film, were shown to record Nick 'contemplating suicide' and were even heard to be egging him on to jump. The reporter covering the story even had a bet on with her cameraman on how long he would last before he committed suicide. I realise that this is supposed to be a comment on how ruthless our society is, and how vicious the media can be, but I'd like to think that this caricature is a ludicrous fabrication and no real crowds would ever think of spurring someone on when they were contemplating killing themselves.
Despite that small annoyance, it is a great escapist film that is guaranteed to keep you entertained, even if it is not guaranteed to keep you guessing.