Man on a Ledge (2012)
Dir: Asger Leth
For a film with a man standing high on a ledge, there’s not quite as much tension as you might expect!
A few years ago, Sam Worthington was the ‘go-to’ man for big blockbuster films, with lead roles in ‘Clash of the Titans’, ‘Terminator Salvation’ and of course ‘Avatar’. The casting team clearly hoped his presence here would help make this a box-office success too, but things didn’t quite work out for them that way.
Ex-cop Nick Cassidy (Worthington) has been in prison after being convicted of stealing a diamond from a wealthy businessman (Ed Harris). However, while out for his father’s funeral, Nick manages to escape, goes into hiding, and eventually turns up high on the balcony of a New York City hotel, apparently threatening to jump. As crowds gather below and a police psychiatrist (Elizabeth Banks) tries to talk him back into the building, his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) is across the street trying to prove Nick was framed, by actually stealing the diamond for the first time.
One small point that made me chuckle was that Sam Worthington is Australian, Jamie Bell is from the North East of England, both have strong and distinctive natural regional accents, so it was clear both of them were working hard to mask their real accents with American ones, plus they were playing brothers. It’s a really unimportant point but still one that amused me, it’s interesting casting, though both work perfectly acceptably in their roles. Genesis Rodriguez (Casa De Mi Padre) stars as Joey’s girlfriend and accomplice, yet her role seems to have been just as eye-candy and also some light humourous relief.
I love heist movies, but sadly this isn’t anywhere near being amongst the best of them. The film never gets quite as tense as it should for something that features a man stood on a ledge, and even the ending really didn’t raise levels of action or suspense quite high enough, in what could have been a resolution with some clever twists, everything was just all too forseeable. For me, the high watermark of heist movies would be something like Soderberg’s ‘Oceans 11’, and when that reveals everything at the end there are clever little tricks and flashbacks to a really inventive crime, sadly this doesn’t do much of that at all, and yet had so much opportunity to do so.
It’s a heist movie by numbers, with the writers ticking off all the elements they think they need, such as supposed tense situation, sneaking through security scenes, attractive females, crooked cops, a despotic villain who deserves being robbed, and little reveals (that really aren’t surprising). Yet, it doesn’t all add up to something thrilling, it just adds up very conveniently, and ultimately forgettably.