Man on a Ledge
dir Asger Leth
scr Pablo F Fenjves
prd Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Mark Vahradian
with Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Genesis Rodriguez, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Edward Burns, Titus Welliver, William Sadler, Kyra Sedgwick, Afton Williamson, Pooja Kumar
release US 27.Jan.12, UK 3.Feb.12
12/US Summit 1h42
Man on a Ledge
Ledge with a view: Banks and Worthington

bell mackie marris
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Man on a Ledge There's so little to this film that you've almost forgotten everything about it by the time the closing credits start to roll. It's so easy to watch that you're lulled into thinking that it's quite good, even though it's not.

Ex-cop Nick (Worthington) is only a couple of years into an excessively long prison sentence for stealing a giant diamond from a ruthless jewel magnate (Harris). But he manages to escape, positioning himself on a 21st-floor ledge above a busy Manhattan street. As the crowd gathers and cops (Banks and Burns) come to talk him down, Nick's brother Joey (Bell) and his bendy girlfriend Angie (Rodriguez) are breaking into a nearby building. Basically, it's Nick's last-ditch effort to clear his name.

Director Leth fills the screen with dizzy camera moves that capitalise on the vertiginous setting while playfully amping up the slinky heist action. Rodriguez even strips down into tiny pink undies at one point, more than a little gratuitously, to slither into a high security vault. Meanwhile, writer Fenjves assembles the script from a series of twists and turns, each of which is blatantly signposted in advance, while each character has just one salient characteristic.

There's not much an actor can do with this kind of mindless silliness, so there's quite a range of performance styles. Oddly, Worthington barely registers amid all of the shameless overacting (Mackie and Welliver as more cops) and scene-stealing (Harris). Banks and Burns both offer a bit of subtext to their characters. And Bell walks off with the film with a lively, engaging turn that seems to contain all of the personality in the entire cast.

Sometimes watching something this mindless can be good fun. We never have any doubt where it's going and we never feel even the slightest twinge of suspense. It also has that striking visual sheen that tells us a lot of money was spent. And while there are some hilariously deranged moments here and there, it does seem a little sad that the film has none of the gritty urgency of Leth's previous film, Ghosts of Cite Soleil. If you want your pulse to race faster, watch that instead.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 21.Nov.11

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© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall