“Man on a Ledge”

“Man on a Ledge” with Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jaime Bell, Genesis Rodriguez, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, and Kyra Sedgwick

Directed by Asger Leth

Man on a Ledge” focuses on Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) as he stands atop a ledge (who woulda guessed it), and feigns to be suicidal.  As expected in New York City, a crowd begins to develop and most of the immediate city’s attention is diverted to Nick.  Police psychologist (and Chelsea Handler doppelgänger) Lydia Mercer played by Elizabeth Banks is called in at the request of Nick due to her recent infamy in the local newspapers.  Essentially, he wants someone that he can relate to and will ultimately believe him no matter what the rest of the world believes.  With everyone focused on Nick, no one realizes that one of the biggest diamond heists of all time is taking place in the building across the way.  Nick’s brother, Joey (Jaime Bell), and his girlfriend, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), tackle this part of the job, and keep in contact with Nick via headsets and ear pieces as they break into real estate mogul, David Englander’s (Ed Harris) vault.

The movie transitions nicely from the expository to the action sequences, which keeps a nice brisk pace to film.  It is definitely one of those movies that you get done watching and you don’t even realize that almost two hours has passed.  I felt that overall the acting was top notch, and I particularly enjoyed the connection that was developed between Sam Worthington and Elizabeth Banks.  It is believable, and as an audience member you can see visibly see the connection.  “Man on a Ledge” also concentrates a lot of its attention on the heist, and I thought that Jaime Bell and Genesis Rodriguez’s coupling was as believable and well acted as Sam Worthington’s and Elizabeth Bank’s.  The two banter back and forth like a couple would while working together, but not to such a degree that they get into a fight; it is all very playful and in jest, which makes the film more believable.

Jaime Bell as Joey Cassidy and Genesis Rodriguez as Angie

The supporting cast sports some heavy hitters, and like aforementioned, the acting in this film is its strong point.

Anthony Mackie plays Nick’s friend, Mike Ackerman, and I absolutely loved his performance.  I have seen him in a couple movies recently, and even though he has acted for a while I think he is definitely one to look out for in the coming years.  He does an excellent job of playing that character that is stuck between friend and foe.  You are never quite sure where his allegiance lies, or even if it is flip flopping throughout the narrative.

To be expected, Ed Harris plays an excellent villain.  He is essentially the man behind the diamond, and he acts wonderfully as always.  Even though Ed Harris is not a physically imposing man, throughout the movie you are scared of him due to Ed Harris’ portrayal of this morally imbalanced character.

The only odd duck out was Kyra Sedgwick.  She is an amazing actress, and she did a wonderful job in “Man on a Ledge” as the spunky, but hard-edged reporter.  But, it felt as-if her role was incredibly diminished from the original part.  It seemed like she could have had a bigger role in the film, but due to edits or re-writes she didn’t in the final cut.  So, by the end of the film her character merely seems tacked on, rather than actually integrated into the film as a plot device.  This is by no means her fault, and is a writing/editing issue.

I thought that “Man on a Ledge” was an intelligent heist film, and I was happy that I picked this one at the end of the day.  It was a fun two hours–it was smart when it needed to be and gritty at other times.  There are a couple of plot holes, but nothing that ruins the film and can be overlooked.  If you enjoyed movies like F. Gary Gray’s “The Italian Job” or Spike Lee’s “The Inside Man,” then you will like “Man on a Ledge.”

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