The man checks into the high rise plush hotel in New York City, enjoys a nice meal, writes a note and then walks out on the ledge. His name is Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) and he claims he’s an innocent man. Innocent of what? And what does walking out on a ledge and threatening to toss oneself off of said ledge have to do with being innocent of anything? That’s a little bit on the complicated side in this action / thriller / heist flick ‘Man on a Ledge’, but we’re going sift our way through it.
Before Nick got on this ledge he was doing twenty five years in Sing Sing for stealing some rather pricey property belonging to Manhattan rich fat cat David Englander, played with steely evil glee by Ed Harris. Worst still, Nick was a cop when he stole this property from Englander, trait which doesn’t make him all that popular with his prison buddies. His former partner Mike Ackerman (Anthony Mackie) pays him a quick visit in the joint to let his best friend know that for one, he’s tirelessly working to free his good name, but more importantly his old man is near death. Tragic.
The old man bites the dust, Nick is allowed to attend the funeral, his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) blames Nick for driving their father into an early grave, a scuffle ensues and Nick manages to escape protective custody and is on the run. And as we already know, his run has landed Nick on the ledge of this sky rise hotel.
Obviously the NYPD has to get this loon down from the ledge so they dispatch their best negotiator Detective Dougherty (Ed Burns) to get him down, but Nick insists on having damaged negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) act as his liaison. We could ask why he wants her, and recognize the fact that she’s emotionally damaged doesn’t really come to play with her character at all in this movie, but the reason she’s in here is because she’s female and good looking and movies such as this one need this to move on.
But wait one minute! While Nick on his ledge playfully bantering back and forth with Officer Mercer amidst a growing throng of New Yorkers urging him to jump, across the street on top of another building that angry brother of his and his toasty hot, inappropriately dressed girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) are planning something. What’s up with that?
By this time that evil rich dude we mentioned earlier is aware that Nick is on a ledge across the street from him, unaware that his brother is breaking into his building above him, but he knows he’s up to something and wants the cops he controls to end this madness. Then there’s Nick’s former partner and best friend running around town getting information to help Nick out. Or is he?
The question is: Will Nick be able to prove his innocence… in one of the most implausible ways ever devised… before he is forced to jump off this ledge since he insists he’s not going to jail. We should be so lucky.
If you choose to take on the challenge of director Asger Leth’s ‘Man on a Ledge’, working off of a screenplay written by Pablo F. Fenjves, there’s going to come a time while watching this movie that you will come to a crossroads. Either you’re going to say ‘Forget it… I can’t take it anymore’, and then walk out or turn off the TV or do something else with your time… Or you’re going to convince yourself that it’s only a movie and that most movies require that their audiences implement some suspension of belief, this one a little bit more than others, and continue on. If you were to choose the former and walk out on this movie, I can’t be mad at you. You see there’s the suspension of belief, and then there’s just plain shattering that son of bitch. ‘Man on a Ledge’ is so ridiculously, insanely, implausibly improbable, from its first frames to the completely unbelievable final salvo, I get why you’d want to close the door on this one halfway through. And if you did this halfway through the movie and are curious about the rest of the movie, just know that it only got worse. Way worse. Kyra Sedgwick playing a reporter named Natalie Morales rolling her R’s in an extended fashion would be a good point to consider vacating this one. At least if you have problem with movies based in a reality, that contains situations that could happen on no version of the Planet Earth that I’m familiar with.
*Sigh*… that being said… if you stick around after Kyra rolls her R’s, and just go with the flow… just deal with the fact that naked cyborgs sent through time to kill expectant mothers is more believable by comparison, then ‘Man on a Ledge’ is a pretty exciting movie. Believe me, you’re gonna have to swallow an awful lot to get that point… a lot… so much stuff that we aren’t even going to bother touching on it because we’d never stop… But I do have to say that the movie is never dull, Asger keeps the ridiculous plot points coming at a fairly rapid pace, and it has a very good cast with most of these cast members overacting to meet the over the top material of the movie itself halfway… except for Sam Worthington who we personally would love to see overact one day.
Like I said, if you want to walk out, I can’t be mad at you. I’d probably applaud you. I wasn’t allowed to walk out so instead of torturing myself I just went with it and kind of had a good time with it. At your own risk.