Man on a Ledge

Directed By: Asger Leth

Starring: Ed Harris, Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Anthony Mackie, Jamie Bell, and Génesis Rodriguez

In any heist flick, there's a certain amount of crap that filmmakers pull that will just never be believable, but we as moviegoers let it slide.  We suspend our disbelief.  In Fast Five, did you really think Toretto and O'Conner were able to swap vaults with their team members while they were all driving at 80 to 90 miles per hour?  In the Ocean's flicks, did you really think that any of Danny's crazy plans would actually work?  I thought not.  In Asger Leth's Man on a Ledge though, I just couldn't suspend my disbelief.

Two years ago, Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) was convicted for stealing the Monarch Diamond from wealthy businessman David Englander (Ed Harris).  Now serving 25 years in prison, Nick is hell bent on proving his innocence.  When his father passes away, Nick attends the funeral and uses this moment as an opportunity to escape incarceration.  Along with his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and his girlfriend Angie (Génesis Rodriguez), Nick concocts a plan to prove his innocence.  To do so, he's got to show that Englander still has the diamond.  He also has to jump off a ledge in the process.

Man on a Ledge is one of those films that is entirely too unbelievable.  The notion of the Cassidy family pulling off a heist like this is ridiculous.  I understand that Nick is a former police officer and has a certain skillset because of this.  That explains why he's able to do the things he does in the film.  I can't say the same for Joey and his girlfriend Angie though.  When the plot merits it, these two are world-class thieves executing a highly dangerous mission.  Joey is your ordinary American male, but Angie has a little more credibility.  She broke into homes as a teen and tried on clothes.  These are some really strong credentials.

Beyond the preposterous premise, there are a couple of other issues I have with the film.  There is some really crappy dialogue in the screenplay for Man on a Ledge.  For example, Cassidy bluffs about taking the plunge and feigns a jump.  Afterward, Elizabeth Banks' Lydia Mercer asks him whether he's okay.  Why the hell would anybody ask a man who is out on a ledge about to commit suicide whether he's okay?  He climbed out the window, and is contemplating becoming roadkill.  Clearly, there's a problem.

The other issue with the film is the lack of character development.  While it's easy to relate to Cassidy and his plight, we really don't get a chance to empathize with any of the other characters.  If Asger Leth spent more time focusing on Anthony Mackie's Mike Ackerman or Ed Harris' David Englander, he could have put together a stronger, richer film.  Both actors needed a whole lot more screen time for their roles.  They could have really added much more to the film.

While surprisingly Sam Worthington gives a decent performance, that's not enough to save this movie.  If I can't believe what I'm seeing, I certainly can't be entertained by it.  Given this, I needed a drink desperately during Man on a Ledge.  A few Manhattans would have been perfect.  Man on a Ledge gets a 0.09% rating.