Vertigo sufferers and sticklers for plausibility will want to give Man on a Ledge a miss, but if you’ve a head for heights and a nonchalance about gimmicky plots then you’ll probably get a rush from this contrived action thriller. Be warned, though, the plot really is contrived.
Sam Worthington’s Nick Cassidy is the eponymous hero, an ex-cop turned escaped convict, who is trying to clear his name of a $40million diamond theft that was pinned on him by Ed Harris’s slimy tycoon. That’s why, having bust out of custody, he’s standing on the 21st floor window ledge of a Manhattan hotel, threatening to jump. As a ghoulish crowd gathers below and NYPD negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) tries to talk him down, Nick’s true purpose becomes apparent (to the viewer, at least). His plight is a ruse to divert attention while across the street his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey’s sassy girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) are getting on with the second stage of Nick’s plan to prove his innocence, a fiendishly complex heist that involves wriggling through air shafts, dodging alarm sensors and other Mission: Impossible-style feats of daring, feats which at one stage naturally require the lithe Angie to strip to her briefs.
Back on the ledge, Worthington’s underwhelming screen presence leaves the film teetering on the brink, though co-star Banks gamely tries to bring some spark to their exchanges. Fortunately, the bickering by-play between livewires Bell and Rodriguez keeps us engaged as the convoluted story unfolds, as does Kyra Sedgwick’s sly cameo as a cynical TV reporter. If it weren’t for them you might feel like joining the mob on the sidewalk yelling ‘Jump!’
On general release from Friday 3rd February 2012.
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