mon 20/05/2024

Man on a Ledge | reviews, news & interviews

Man on a Ledge

Man on a Ledge

Sam Worthington has something to prove in an uncertain heist caper

Don't look down: Sam Worthington hits midtown in 'Man on a Ledge'

Is it a voice coach Sam Worthington needs? He plays nothing but Americans – even in the mythological mash-up Clash of the Titans - but come those moments of what passes for heightened emotion in his performances, the Kiwi vowels will out. There is a lot of heightened emotion in Man on a Ledge, or at least height, being set on a ledge from which a man is threatening to jump. Close your eyes and you could be in Kaikoura or Wanganui,  or Invercargill.

In fact we are in Midtown New York on the flank of the Roosevelt Hotel, which intriguingly seems to assume some commercial benefit derives from taking a supporting role as a suicide’s launchpad. Only it turns out that Nick Cassidy (Worthingon) is not planning to jump. An ex-cop imprisoned for the theft of a priceless diamond, he manages to slip his minders at his father’s burial and in due course check into a hotel opposite the premises of the property mogul (Ed Harris, on scary auto-pilot) who framed him. His plan is to draw attention to his case as the gawping crowds gather noisily below, while at the same time establishing his innocence. This can be achieved by proving that the diamond was never in fact half-inched. Being stuck on a ledge, he’s not in a position to deliver on this himself, but he knows a man who is – his brother Joey (Jamie Bell), who is accompanied by an absurdly scrumptious girlfriend (Genesis Rodriguez).

As these two lovebirds proceed through an impregnable security system via various ropes, drills and pulleys and, er, catsuits to pinch the diamond, Nick walks them through it via an earpiece. Though with no history in high-end burglary, they seem somewhat implausibly to know their stuff. Meanwhile the NYPD’s dedicated ledge shrink (Elizabeth Banks) has been called in to talk him out of leaping. She brings her own baggage into the room, having seen headlines plastered all over the city when her last case jumped, and is keen to see this one live. In due course Nick’s identity is revealed to her, but she needs a lot of persuading that he is an innocent man. It helps that a cartoonish couple of bent cops – including his old pardner (Anthony Mackie) – seem to be on his tail.

As directed by Asger Leth, a Danish first-timer in Hollywood who seems to have sprung more or less from nowhere, Man on a Ledge whistles along competently enough, but its commitment to the grammar of the thriller is fatally half-baked. The sense of genuine danger is confined to woozy bird’s eye views of the street from on high, while the heist itself is weirdly undercut by much deflating script-doctored relationship banter between Rodriguez and Bell, who at one point on the job even does a little Billy Elliot tribute dance. There are plot corners more than twists, and few stylistic surprises. And while Worthington may need a voice coach, it’s really a face coach who should be hired to chip away at all that wood. If you want to experience real cinematic vertigo, rent Vertigo.

Watch the trailer to Man on a Ledge

Worthington may need a voice coach, it’s really a face coach who should be hired to chip away at all that wood


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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