‘Man on a Ledge'
“Man on a Ledge” effectively uses its high-rise setup to build tension and suspense for the first half of its runtime, but by the end, the action-thriller falls into tired cinematic cliches.
The debut feature from Asger Leth, who previously directed the gritty Haitian gang documentary “Ghosts of Cite Soleil,” the movie boasts an intriguing if unlikely premise.
Go-to action star Sam Worthington stars as Nick Cassidy, a former New York City policeman wrongly convicted of stealing a $40 million diamond from reptilian businessman David Englander (University of Oklahoma alumnus Ed Harris).
Imprisoned in Sing Sing, the ex-cop is a favorite punching bag among the inmates, and it seems everyone except his loyal former partner, Mike Ackerman (Anthony Mackie), has forsaken him.
When he is furloughed to attend his father's funeral, Cassidy gets into a fight with his brother, Joey (Jamie Bell), and then makes a daring escape.
A few days later, Cassidy checks into the historic Roosevelt Hotel, eats a fancy meal, wipes the room clean of fingerprints and then steps outside onto the narrow ledge 200 feet above midtown Manhattan.
When police negotiator Jack Dougherty (Edward Burns) arrives on the scene, Cassidy demands to speak with Dougherty's troubled rival, Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks).
Mercer quickly realizes Cassidy isn't your conventional jumper and suspects he has more in mind than just dramatically proclaiming his innocence.
As counterintuitive as it sounds considering the nonstop motion inherent in most actioners, “Man on a Ledge” ascends to its high point of excitement when it's at a standstill and focused on Worthington.
The Australian movie star filmed many of his scenes on a real-life ledge on the exterior of the Roosevelt Hotel, and his instinctive fear of actually standing 21 stories above the streets of New York gets the audience's adrenaline pumping in response.
Bonus features: A 15-minute making-of featurette and a trailer with commentary provided by Banks.
— Brandy McDonnell