Man On A Ledge (2012)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
I'm not sure what it was, but something about Man On A Ledge caught my attention when I first heard about it. On the surface of things, the story seemed a little thin - surely one man attempting suicide for an hour and a half could not be that interesting?

But still, there was something there that intrigued me. Perhaps it was the thought of seeing a dying man's inner self in a beautiful soliloquy by Sam Worthington that made it sound interesting. Maybe I have deep psychological issues that could only be fulfilled by watching a man perform a true leap of faith. Or maybe I was just curious exactly what noise Hollywood would apply to a protagonist hitting the pavement from 15 storeys up.

Either way, I got my wish this weekend as I found a rental download that I could watch on the train journey to and from London town. On a small aside, if you ever watch films on a train, be sure to bring big headphones to block out the noise of the train, passengers, and ticket collectors (pay close attention to the latter if you have, err, lost your ticket).

Back to the film, and I must say it is very different from what I was expecting. Man On A Ledge is much more of a thriller than I had anticipated and, rather than a soft account of a man's life before he jumps, it follows Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), an ex-cop and escaped convict, who is trying to clear his name after being framed by a rich businessman. In fact, the man on the ledge is a literal distraction from the rest of the story.

I swear the pavement was just here.
As the man that the film centres around, Sam Worthington is superb. The chemistry between him and negotiator Elizabeth Banks works beautifully from the moment they hit the screen together. The peril of the situation is never lost between the pair and it is they - along with some clever storytelling - that keep you right on the edge of your seat.

In fact, unlike many films that bill themselves as thrillers, during I physically felt myself holding on for dear life whenever Cassidy got close to the edge - and this means a lot from me as I absolutely love heights. If you suffer from vertigo then I would highly recommend avoiding this film at all costs, or at least watch it while sat next to someone who is medically qualified.

Unfortunately, it is not all rosy. Away from the main action and the scenes featuring Jamie Bell and Génesis Rodríguez are not so convincing. While some of the techniques used to break and enter the building were inventive, both characters ruined the film in terms of keeping the sincerity. I can understand that such a desperate film may seem like it needs something to lighten the mood, but in truth the chemistry between the main two is more than enough to keep the film above depression. The 'secondary' couple was horrific and corny - every time they entered the screen and complained about their relationship problems, I lost interest.

It's a shame really. The story as a whole is very well conceived, but two characters are irritating enough to ruin it. There are plenty of highs, but they are overshadowed by the moments that push it over the edge.


  1. Big fan of Worthington, so it's good to hear good things about him in this film, because no one I've read seemed all that interested in talking about that fairly obvious aspect of the movie.


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