Movie review: Man on a Ledge

By Columbus Alive
From the January 26, 2012 edition

“Man on a Ledge” exists in genre purgatory — too dull to be action, too blah to be drama.

Sam Worthington stars as Nick Cassidy, an ex-cop who escapes his prison sentence for theft and climbs onto the ledge of a 21st-floor hotel window to proclaim his innocence.

As a police negotiator (Elizabeth Banks) tries to talk him down, a series of subplots follow the efforts of Nick’s brother (Jamie Bell) and his fiery Latina girlfriend (Genesis Rodriguez) to back Nick’s claim with proof, and the efforts to thwart them by the alleged theft victim, financier David Englander (Ed Harris, looking so thin that his scenery chewing seems only healthy).

The story from screenwriter Pablo F. Fenjves provides numerous opportunities for sweeping, vertiginous shots of Manhattan, of which director Asger Leth takes full advantage. Logic and originality don’t get the same consideration, however.

Fenjves’ characters suffer from thin construction, made-for-TV dialogue, predictable motives and actions that ultimately don’t make any sense. It’s a waste of the cast’s talents, particularly Kyra Sedgwick as a TV news reporter who doesn’t seem to have any purpose in the narrative.

The notable exception is Worthington. You can’t waste what isn’t there. At times it seems the only thing distinguishing him from the building he’s clinging to is an old-school Billy Ray Cyrus mullet.