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Capone isn't quite willing to step out for MAN ON A LEDGE, despite some good performances!!!

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

In the category of "the title tells it all," we have MAN ON A LEDGE, the first feature film from documentary filmmaker Asger Leth. There are some deep and painful flaws in this story of Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) who steps out of his hotel window 20-some stories above New York City for reasons other than suicide, but that being said, I was genuinely surprised how much I got caught up in this story, despite the best efforts of certain actors and screenwriter Pablo F. Fenjves to pull me out.

It turns out Cassidy is a former police officer who was accused of stealing a priceless diamond from a real estate mogul (Ed Harris, who might as well be twirling his invisible wax mustache for all of the subtlety he brings his character) and ended up getting sentenced to decades in jail. He escapes captivity while attending the funeral of his father, and before long he ends up on the ledge, from which he refuses to leave until his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) carries out a heist that should prove Nick's innocence. Joey is accompanied by his ridiculously hot and fiery girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), while Nick is out on the ledge, where he request the negotiation services of Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), whose recent failure to keep a man from leaping from a bridge has left her a bit fragile.

MAN ON A LEDGE is loaded with solid actors, including Anthony Mackie as a fellow cop and Nick's best friend, Titus Welliver, Edward Burns, and the incomparable William Sadler. Worthington does a solid job doing the one thing he needs to do well in this movie, which is look scared being that high up. I was most impressed with Banks' slightly damaged character who, like Nick, is looking for a little redemption. What I had huge problems with is legion. For starters, Harris is a buffoon who doesn't even attempt to conceal that he's a baddie. Almost nothing he does makes sense. There's a scene in which he removes something from a safe and puts it in his pocket, but if he'd just left said item in the safe, the movie would have ended differently and he would have gotten away with his latest misdeed.

I also kind of hated the characters played by Bell and Rodriguez, who are meant to be stealthy robbers breaking into a building that is impossible to break into. All they do is tell horrible jokes and exchange lifeless, stupid banter. Rodriguez reminds me of those pretty girls who are so used to guys laughing at their dumb jokes that they actually think they're funny. Yes, I'm bitter. Maybe the dumbest character is also the most believable. Kyra Sedgwick plays a TV news journalist covering Nick on the ledge, but nothing about her performance or what she says feels authentic--not even a little bit. She's terrible and the part could and should have easily been excised from the movie.

Still, the interactions between Worthington and Banks, Worthington and Mackie, and Banks and Burns are good stuff. The ending is somewhat over the top and non-sensical, but there were far worse crimes being committed here than those in the final act. Worthington is an interesting actor, because I tend to prefer him in his non-action roles, such as THE DEBT or earlier works like SOMERSAULT. With Banks, she tends to do well against even the weakest script, and while I adore her performances in comedies, she's just as good in more dramatic roles like this one. Overall, MAN ON A LEDGE gets a borderline recommendation from me, primarily because the scenes of the actual ledge all work, as the players dance around each other's purposes for being there. And when the film stays on point, it's a lot of fun. I anticipate this one going over really well with audiences, even if it doesn't with critics.

-- Steve Prokopy
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Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:42 p.m. CST


    by Mr.Macphisto


  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:48 p.m. CST

    it is better than BIRD ON A WIRE?

    by durhay

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 12:57 p.m. CST

    RE: durhay

    by Capone

    It most definitely is. But it's not better than GIRL ON THE BRIDGE.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:07 p.m. CST

    If they really wanted to impress people...

    by Andrew Coleman

    They should have left why he was on the ledge a mystery. Seeing the heist stuff in the ads kind of blows it.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:11 p.m. CST

    is it better than PHONE BOOTH?

    by Rob

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:18 p.m. CST

    re: myphdisdoom

    by Steve

    I thought the ledge deal was a gimmick to distract the police / media from the heist (like "Die Hard w/ a Vengence"); I didn't realize, until Capone's review, that there were altruistic goals to the heist.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Thanks for posting a review.

    by partyflavor

    This looks like it could be at least mildly entertaining, so I came here to see if anyone had done a review. Finally, you posted yours, but man, Capone, are you the only one reviewing movies here anymore?

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:39 p.m. CST

    I can't take Kenny Powers seriously in this movie

    by Mel

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 1:40 p.m. CST



  • Jan. 27, 2012, 2:08 p.m. CST


    by IAmTommyWiseau

    A direct to DVD actor somehow acting with the big boys. Something tells me that he has a djinn locked up somewhere.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 3:28 p.m. CST

    by MandrakeRoot

    I know the popular opinion here is that Worthington suck - and I'm not gonna argue he's a great actor, cause he's not - but I think he was actually really solid on Avatar. Something about hid hybrid American/Aussie accent really worked for him in na'vi form, and made him sound totally badass. And while he can be rather blank as an actor, he managed to come through the mo-cap pretty well. Part of that was the stunning FX work, but he did pretty good. As na'vi Jake, he seems genuinely excited about his new body and new home, and it helped sell the character fairly well. In fact I think he was significantly better as the avatar which played a big part in the movies success. I mean if the big-blue cat-alien protagonist doesn't come through well it would be a disaster. He had the look to pull it off as well...I can imagine a lot of actors would look ridiculous in blue. So yeah I'm just saying while he's not a great actor, he's far from the worst thing in movies which many seem to think. And as the review pointed out, he's had a few decent dramatic roles as well.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 3:30 p.m. CST

    But that said...

    by MandrakeRoot

    This movie looks pretty lame.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Better than snakes on a plane?

    by Porrohman

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 4:31 p.m. CST

    But do they play the Third Eye Blind song?

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 4:56 p.m. CST

    The Screenwriter

    by Green

    Just read an interview with Pablo whatever his name is. Apparently, his original script was more of a two hander between the negotiator and the guy on the ledge. It was meant to be a much smaller, more intimate film, but the studio wanted bigger, so they got in a bunch of other writers to come up with the break-in and a lot of the lame stuff people are complaining about. Don't know if this is true, but it sounds like typical Hollywood. It's not right to bash the guy if his stuff got fucked up by someone else.

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 5:27 p.m. CST


    by davkeats

    dude, gook? i enjoy the harry hate as much as anyone, but that's ridiculous...didn't Hawkeye teach us that was unacceptable in the first season of M*A*S*H*

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 5:27 p.m. CST


    by eustisclay

    ...I would believe that. Man on a Ledge was a 50's flick about a guy about to commit suicide and a cop trying to bring him in. Sounds like they were remaking it, but added all this other crap. I don't know what Capone means by "the title tells it all" since that would apply to the original but with this one it's more "the title tells it all plus some heist plot shoehorned in."

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 8:16 p.m. CST

    bird on a wire

    by antonphd

    dear god, i added that to my netflix que a year ago on a weird whim, but then cancelled everything but the on demand this year, so, i never meant to actually watch it. i guess it never deletes from your que, because my wife started getting movies in the mail so she could watch The Closer and when her last disc went back a few days ago netflix sent bird on a wire in the mail. now i have it in my house. i am afraid to watch it. goldie hawn. mel gibson. what the fuck was i thinking putting that in my que that night?

  • Jan. 27, 2012, 8:16 p.m. CST

    oh, and i watched Man on a Ledge and it was a lot of fun

    by antonphd

    nothing great, but definitely a good time in the theater. a good date movie.