It’s that special time of year in Hollywood. No, not Award Season. It’s B-Movie season! That time of year where the Top Five dump all their least-likely-to-be-nominated-for-anything movies (even a Razzie) into theatres and watch hungry audiences fight over these scraps of filmmaking. While there are always a few standouts at this time of year, some films go above and beyond the call of duty, screaming for attention. Man on a Ledge is such a film. While other films might attempt to sucker people in with mysterious titles like The Grey or One For the Money, Man on a Ledge knows exactly what it is. A movie about a man standing on a ledge for 102 minutes and it’s damn proud of it…for some reason.
As far as I know…
Man on a Ledge stars Sam Worthington as a convict trying to clear his name of a crime he claims he did not commit. Naturally, the only way for him to do that is to break out of prison, travel to Manhattan, rent a penthouse hotel suite in the heart of the city, dress to the nines, and walk out the hotel window onto a ledge 20 stories above the sidewalk. Once there, he needs to get the attention of the public, who in turn will get the police to swarm the area, who will waste millions of tax payers dollars sending every available squad to cordon off the area and do crowd control, all so that he can have a chance to plead his case to the police psychiatrist (Elizabeth Banks) while currying favour with the public through such clever devices as “making it rain“.
But, of course, this is all a diversion.
Across the street, a team of his best-ies will be performing some B&E via explosives so they can gain access to the fortress of the real culprit, Ed Harris, and find the truth that shall set Sam free! The only problem is they can’t seem to decide how to best spend their time: completing their task and making a speedy getaway or dry-humping all over Ed’s personal belongings. Arguably they would be getting back at Ed exploring either option, I know I’d be pissed if the best friends of someone I had imprisoned broke into my den and left their seepage all over the place but only one of these options would actually help their friend. So what did Ed do to get everyone so riled up in the first place besides being a rich old white guy? He accused Sam of stealing a diamond worth more than most NHL teams. Naturally everyone assumed Ed was telling the truth (rich old white guy vs. an Aussie remember?) so they threw Sam in the clink for the crime of being too Dickensian.
Once Sam’s team navigates through Eds evil lair in a manor normally reserved for the Mission: Impossible crew, they snatch the diamond, rendezvous with Sam (on a less precarious ledge but a ledge nonetheless), prove his innoncence to Banks, and bring justice to the world. Normally this would be the end of it but then Ed would still win in an odd way because he’d end up getting 3 square a day and a gym membership with no annual fees while Sam would have to apply for jobs during a recession while sporting a significant blemish on his resume. So instead, after the dust has settled and he’s off the hook, Sam pockets the diamond anyways. After all, he’s earned it what with that whole “wrongful imprisonment” bit, right?
I suppose this is done in an attempt to make Sam a modern day Robin Hood but all it really does is prove Ed to be a good judge of character while completely negating our heroes journey. The best way to prove your not a criminal is to wait until no one is looking (or only commit crimes you were wrongly accused of committing beforehand thus enacting double jeopardy)? This is where Man on a Ledge consistently fails. Absolutely none of it is believable. Proving you didn’t commit a crime by committing it? Asinine. New Yorkers that would hang around any “street spectacle” for more than 10 minutes? Preposterous. Ed Burns being cast in anything that wasn’t written or directed by himself? Absurd.
Aside from the ridiculous plot, there isn’t much else to critique. The director manages to get his actors to do an adequate job of spewing the script over frame after frame of decently exposed film that appears to be put together from a beginning to an end. However all this does is make for an entirely forgettable experience (and a fearfully common one at that).
So if you haven’t already seen any of the nominated films of the past year it’s best to do so now while movies like Man on a Ledge and it’s ilk are occupying theatres (and don’t forget the “snubbed” ones)!
As far as I know…