film review: Man on a Ledge (2012)No Comment
Man on a Ledge is one of those small films that creep up on you… You have no idea they exist and then BAM! They’re all over the place and it turns out they even have people you’ve heard of in them.
As a result, I went into Man on a Ledge only knowing that it starred Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks and Jamie Bell. And I put it to you that this is the best way to be. So if you haven’t seen it you can stop reading now. Not that I’m going to give away spoilers, I do, of course, have a no spoiler policy, but it’s worth not even having any expectations.
Course, from the title, Man on a Ledge sounds like a high concept thriller… but it’s actually not. Which was somewhat disappointing to me but how or never. The premise is that Sam Worthington plays a disgraced cop, convicted of a crime he swears he did not commit. He’s exhausted his last appeal and now faces 25 years or so in prison. He’s obviously not happy about this. To tell you any more would be giving things away so I’ll move right along.
What you get with Man on a Ledge is a tight, taut thriller. It’s relatively short, at 102 mins, and it manages to pack a surprising amount of plot in that time. Crucially though, and you’d think this would be something that more films would focus on, the plot makes sense. Well ok, being honest, there’s a couple of rather large plot holes, but they’re nothing that are worth focusing on. You can skim over them with ease.
What keeps the film moving is it’s tight structure. It never gets boring as, with almost clockwork precision, an interesting plot point is revealed nearly every 15 mins. This makes it feel a little like an extended TV show, but that’s not to its detriment. If it’s a TV show, it’s a good one with much higher production values and a rather more talented cast than you might generally get on TV. Except on HBO. They get some serious stars over on that channel…
Another thing that I enjoyed about it, though it is part of what firmly takes it out of high concept territory, is that there’s a bit of levity to it. We don’t spend all our time being very serious on the ledge. There are some great and very funny scenes with Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez, good fun as supporting characters. Rodriguez is certainly an actress I’d like to see in more English speaking roles, I think she could be a great comic actress. Her next role is in Will Ferrell’s Casa de mi Padre, so here’s hoping my hunch is right! And, of course, that Will Ferrell’s new film is actually funny…
My only real criticism of Man on a Ledge is that there may be a slight dragging toward the end.. but I think that has more to do with Ed Harris. He seemed a little confused as to why he was there. He never seemed comfortable in the film. Perhaps he just never got on board with the concept… All in all though, Man on a Ledge is a neat little thriller. It’s probably not going to set your world on fire, but it’s well worth a look.