Friday, 13 January 2012
FILM REVIEW: MAN ON A LEDGE
Snakes On A Plane. The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford. Buried. Title, plot synopsis and spoilers all in one. It may be a case of Hollywood being lazy, particularly when it comes to the high concept Snakes (2006) (where one suspects they came up with the title first), but sometimes the title is just a jumping off point (pun intended).
Certainly Jesse James (2007) was a far more involved (and even longer) film than its all-encompassing title. And with Man On A Ledge, director Asger Leth serves up a serviceable thriller which is concerned with much more than the titular potential jumper (though it's much closer to Snakes than Jesse James in execution).
Walker (Sam Worthington) checks-in to a downtown New York hotel, has what one suspects is a last supper (lobster and fries?), and proceeds to climb out onto the building's ledge, after first removing all trace of his fingerprints from the room.
Walker's high enough off the ground to make an impression on his body, if not the sidewalk, should he jump, which is what he threatens to do unless the NYPD call in their top, though troubled, negotiator, Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks).
She's on the outer with her NYPD brethren (which includes Ed Burns) following her recent failure to prevent the death of a fellow cop. Mercer takes her time in uncovering the jumper's true identity (which we learn early on in a flashback sequence) but she quickly intuits that he's not your usual jumper.
Walker is actually Nick Cassidy, a former NYPD cop wrongly imprisoned for the theft of a multi-million dollar diamond belonging to a wealthy businessman (Ed Harris, playing evil and cashing a cheque).
Escaping custody while attending his father's funeral, it's soon revealed that Cassidy has gone out on a ledge, literally and figuratively, to prove his innocence and right some wrongs. He's aided in his mission by his kid brother, Joey (Jamie Bell), and Joey's girlfriend, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez, who obviously got the part when Megan Fox found something - anything - else to do).
It's hard not to go into much more detail without becoming too spoiler-ish suffice to say things become a bit more active, and far more silly, when Mercer begins to suspect Cassidy is telling the truth, Joey and Angie put their part of the plan into action, and Cassidy leaps into the fray as well.
It's perhaps too early in the year to label Man On A Ledge one of the worst of 2012. Silly, yes, but not the worst. It's certainly not Abduction bad; the 2011 Taylor Lautner starrer which was so bad it was almost good.
But the latest Hollywood vehicle for Aussie Sam Worthington, who has yet to shine post-Avatar, will require a brain in neutral, a suspension of disbelief, and a leap of faith in order to win over its intended audience.