After 2009’s groundbreaking (at least, visually) Avatar, the lead star Sam Worthington was destined for great things; strong performances in 2010 with The Debt and Clash of the Titans further solidified his increasing fame. But Worthington was noticeably absent from screens in 2011, with only one credit to his name, Texas Killing Fields, an independent picture. He’s making up for it this year though, with two releases in as many months with this, Man on a Ledge, and then Wrath of the Titans in March. But is his return a welcome one?
Nick Cassidy (Worthington) , an ex-cop turned criminal, threatens to jump from a ledge high up on a Manhattan hotel. When the police arrive, Cassidy demands that he speaks to a specific officer, Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks, The Hunger Games, Zack & Miri Make a Porno). But what the police and Mercer don’t know is that not all is as it first seems, and whilst their attention is on Cassidy, a heist is taking place in the building opposite. Can Cassidy distract the authorities long enough to pull of the ultimate deception?
At first glance, not since Snakes on a Plane has a movie title been so blunt. It’s just a man, on a ledge, right?
The focus isn’t on Worthington as much as I expected, and the story is more about the heist in the other building, being undertaken by Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott) and his stunning girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez). The concept is clever, but I couldn’t help but feel there was a little too much going on at once; it felt a little convoluted, and the switches from the ledge to the building to Ed Harris (who is the ‘villain’ of the movie, per se) took away from the effect of the heist itself. Speaking of Ed Harris, it was good to see him on screen again, but he didn’t look fully committed to the role, and doesn’t quite come across as threatening. Same goes to Worthington: whilst initially it appears he’s having fun, by the second act, when all you really need to know about the film is known, he’s just going through the motions and it’s a wasted opportunity for him to exhibit his talents.
What was also disappointing was the way the set was utilized; you would have thought that director Asger Leth would have tried to give us a sense of just how high up Cassidy was. There’s a select few occasions, but due to the close ups it doesn’t feel like he’s in any really danger. On the other side of things, in the building where Bell and Rodriguez are, things are a little more entertaining, but the humor between the two seems forced and their chemistry as a couple is non-existent.
To sum up, Man on a Ledge is full of missed opportunities. It’s an entertaining, throwaway popcorn thriller, but will be forgotten after a good nights sleep.