Man On A Ledge (dir. Asger Leth, 2012) – Ex-cop Nick Cassidy threatens suicide atop a Manhattan hotel, but soon rouses suspicion of a hidden collusion at play.
A well-intentioned thriller ends up a 90-minute filler, neither clever nor elegant as a good heist film necessitates.
Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is having a bad day. Standing on the ledge of the Roosevelt Hotel, the desperate man threatens splatter on the pavement. Crowds start to gather and cynical voices rise amid hopeful murmurs. Negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) arrives at his request to talk him out of suicide, only to find that the jumper has no intention to jump.
Man on a Ledge makes a promising start. As opposed to the blunt nature of its title, the opening fascinates with teases of unforeseeable twists. One of the turns involves a heist of his making, right across the building where he stands. Thieves, who do not intend to steal, keep up the recurring theme of intrigue in their unknown motive. Unfortunately, their story refuses to unfold with grace.
That the truth is much simpler than its set-up deserves, is hugely disappointing. Once lazy exposition reveals the framed ex-cop’s dull ploy, the remaining plot of his sidekicks’ robbery attempt is neither clever nor interesting to sustain any tension on its own.
Tiresome contrivances see their crime sail through as smooth as satin as they enjoy a ridiculous amount of luck. All that they suffer is painful banter along with vexatiously convenient clichés, courtesy of Ethan Hunt.
Impatience replaces our slightest leftover excitement, as the movie constantly cuts back to Nick buying time on the window ledge. With the assured survival of the man in supposed peril, 21 storeys above ground begins to feel like a flat, level ground floor. Seems like the title had been honest, after all.
Few one-location action movies manage to keep every minute as exciting as the next. Exceptions exist in outstanding performances (Phone Booth, Buried) or remarkable cinematography (Rope, The Walk), neither of which comes through in this underdeveloped and over-stretched logline.