Ex-cop Nick Cassidy gambles with his life in order to prove his innocence in Man on a Ledge, an action mind bender from director Asger Leth. Though it stars a fairly good ensemble and flirts with a daring concept, the film, much like Nick’s threats of ending his own life, is nothing more than talk that doesn’t go anywhere. Hit the jump for a review of the Blu-ray.
Nick, played by Avatar actor Sam Worthington, is convicted of stealing a diamond worth $40 million from nefarious business mogul David Englander, played by Ed Harris. To prove his innocence and restore his family name, he escapes from prison, and concocts a complex heist with his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s attractive girlfriend, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez). In order to give Joey and Angie the cover they need to snatch the gem, Nick draws the eyes of the city to him by walking onto a ledge of the Roosevelt Hotel and threatening to end his life.
The story itself is a bold premise that deviates from the typical “grizzled guy goes on a violent rampage to clear his name” action formula, but fails to capitalize on it. Instead, it follows a predictable path that audiences can spot a mile away. After walking onto the ledge, Nick does absolutely nothing to truly convince anyone he’s serious about going through with his desperate act, even to the point that Detective Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) doesn’t buy it for a moment, but still she finds herself drawn into Nick’s game out of curiosity alone. David Englander is the stereotypical bad guy who appears nice to the public, but is actually a cold-hearted cutthroat to those who truly know him, and acts the part every minute he’s on the screen. There’s nothing fresh or new after the first 15 minutes.
The cast of well knowns does their best to add some punch to the bland story, but good acting can only do so much. Sam Worthington makes a convincing cop with nothing to lose, but his style is more geared towards action, not mind games. Elizabeth Banks seems timid in the role of the NYPD detective, and while her character is supposed to be battling with her own demons, it doesn’t show through Banks’ portrayal. Ed Harris does a great job with playing the sneering villain, but the fact that he’s a sneering villain almost cheapens his role. The two best performances are found in Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez, whose chemistry and banter livens what would normally be two forgettable characters.
Though the story may lack muscle, the Blu-ray shows some strength with its HD 1080p visuals and crisp audio. The scenes and sounds of the city and some small tension to scenes and give audiences a few great shots that do more for the film that anything else. The amount of engineering that went into creating the visuals for the film is staggering, and stand as a testament to how having a great creative team can give directors shots they didn’t think were possible without computer trickery.
The extras on the Blu-ray disc are arguably better than the actual film itself. The Ledge featurette chronicles how the special effects team accomplished a lot of the movie magic that gives the film its intense visuals. The hotel room on tracks that slides to give cameras varying angles is both an engineering masterpiece and a simply cool concept. The movie trailer with commentary by Elizabeth Banks is, well, just kind of weird. Not sure if this is a first for films, but it certainly doesn’t add anything to film.
While The Ledge may be a stunning film in terms of eye-candy, every other aspect will probably have viewers yelling for Nick to jump off the ledge well before its over. It promises to be mind-bending with a story that, on the surface, seems bold, but deviates back to safe territory quickly.
Movie: C-, Disc: C+