Published on February 6th, 2012 | by willok1
Movie Review: Man on a Ledge
It’s difficult to articulate the mood you need to be in to enjoy ‘Man on a Ledge’. You must certainly be in a forgiving mood, or at least one where you have no intention of interrogating a plot that is on quicksand within minutes. Plenty of reviews may take the time to try to put some semblance of order on what goes on; in the spirit of efficiency, it can be summarised by saying the plot has all the sense of a box of kittens. Sam Worthington, as per the instructive title of the movie, sets about to stand on a ledge. A high one. Every strive you might make to analyse the plot beyond this should be a cautionary one.
What can be assured is that the key role in this movie is allocated to Sam Worthington’s hair. It represents a beautiful metaphor for the rest of the movie and the lack of logic that you will embrace or detest while watching. Wind gusts, helicopter blades, squads of armed guards, inquisitive cops, all while perched on a ledge on a hotel building in mid-town Manhattan with hordes of people below encouraging him to jump and the man at no point breaks so much as a bead of sweat to undo his highly coiffed look. Not withstanding his multiple accents (Worthington is an English-born, Australian actor here playing a New Yorker of Irish extraction), his intention to throw himself from a hotel window and the revelations about his past, Elizabeth Banks, as a totally unfeasible-hard nosed cop and with an unconvincing hangover (maybe she thought this was a comedy), buys into his story and becomes an ally in his fight for justice. It must be the hair.
In a building across the street, a secondary movie is underway with Jamie Bell and his sassy girlfriend (who is so out of Bell’s league, she didn’t know such leagues existed), find themselves using the distraction of Worthington’s hair and actions to rob a hugely expensive diamond from Ed Harris’ vault. This element can be said without any sense of hyperbole to be ludicrous; our high-concept movie becomes an unsettling hybrid of ‘Tintin’ and ‘Mission Impossible’ with token girl-in-underwear moments and decrepit dialogue. We learn nothing of Tintin and Sassy-love-interest, however we can only presume they are technical experts in electronics, breaking through high-security vaults with incredible agility and fitness. Ed Harris in Lex Luthor mode sits atop his empire and is the target of this intricate skullduggery. He spouts non-sensical drivel, has some type of press conference to attend and for some reason looks like he has been painted in varnish, his skin is such a odd sepia colour. This reviewer is not actually convinced the man himself turned up for a day’s work and that they didn’t instead use techno-gizmo magic to create his role. This would be a more than acceptable answer to his senseless involvement in this movie.
Yes, we all need to forgive (in watching movies and otherwise) and accept that movies need not be overly-concerned with recreating physically and logically sound entertainment; however, an interesting base premise is not a free pass to deliver a movie that afterwards borders on insulting in its lazy, lazy development. Apart from the initial slow steps to find his perch, the tension evaporates entirely from the rest of the movie – the potential for a ‘Phonebooth’ or ‘Buried’ -style small story full of drama is never even encroached on. Instead we have slinky cat suit girl wondering what wire to cut to defuse a sensor, while there never any doubt as to how events will turn out. This is the type of schlock that gets parodied now-a-days it is so dated. We can of course enjoy this if the mood is right but the missed opportunity leaves a bitter after-taste.