Man on a Ledge

It was January, for God’s sake, so what did you really expect?

Man on a LedgeThere are a whole host of reasons why it is fabulous to have a 13-year-old grandson, not the least of which is a built-in excuse to see such tolerable nonsense as Man on a Ledge. Conner, age 13, thought it was “o.k.”, and that was good enough for me.

Unfortunately, Director Asger Leth mysteriously lacked the ability to develop an otherwise intriguing premise. In a nutshell, Sam Worthington is a police officer doing 25 years in prison after being falsely convicted for stealing a 40 carat diamond that belonged to a sleazy real estate tycoon played by the always intriguing Ed Harris.

Desperate to reclaim his innocence, Mr. Worthington arranges an escape where he is subsequently found dangling from the twelfth floor ledge of a Manhattan hotel. Attracting a large crowd, his brother and scantily clad fiancée are simultaneously burrowing into an adjoining hotel where they are trying to invade Mr. Harris’s safe to try to prove that the mysterious diamond is still in his possession.

Elizabeth Banks plays a police officer with professional issues who tries to talk Worthington down off of his ledge, and Anthony Mackey appears as his former partner who has some dark secrets hidden in his personal closet. Regardless, while the story could have worked, it never coalesces despite the fact that the above are all major actors with some genuine talent.

Incredibly, however, what kills the film is that most of the scenes focus on Worthington dangling on the building’s ledge while trying to win the support of Ms. Banks. Interspersed are a few scenes with Mr. Harris, who is reduced to obnoxiously preening as one of the most officious dicks on Wall Street.

While it will mean precious little, the best scenes of the movie involve the relationship between Worthington’s brother and fiancée as they engage in their little theft project to recover the diamond. Jamie Bell plays the brother, and he again shows a bit of comic flair that he first demonstrated in the wonderful Billy Elliott (2000). Genesis Rodriguez is tolerably funny as his loving assistant, and you can almost forgive her tendency to appear scantily clad.

Though I truly like Ms. Banks, she is given precious little to do in this film. I’m beginning to wonder if she is more accomplished in comedies rather than dramas. It might be worthwhile to remember why she was genuinely appealing in such funny films as Definitely Maybe (2008), Role Models (2008) and Our Idiot Brother (2011).

As for Mr. Worthington, he admittedly seems to be a bit too sullen here, but it would be a mistake to ignore him. After all, no one will ever forget Avatar (2009), and his soon to be released sequel entitled Wrath of the Titans looks like one of those action movies that may generate some piss and vinegar.

In the end, there is no doubt as to why this film was released in January. It never gets to where it really wants to go, and that is best represented by the sad fact that the performance of the talented Mr. Harris is completely wasted. On the other hand, the movie wasn’t a complete hopeless loss, as it did provide my grandson with definitive proof that the movie going world for American adults is not all roses and lollipops.