On the Ledge of your Seat
A month after getting out of Sing Sing Correctional facility a man by the name of Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) books into a hotel room on the 21st floor. He eats breakfast wiping clean the knife and fork he used, writes a note and climbs out on to the ledge. He is quickly spotted by a screaming woman whose frantic shriek alerts a cop. Soon the police and fire service are in attendance as the crowds form and the man demands to speak to negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) who following losing a jumper is on leave. It is then that she discovers via fingerprints on a cigarette that Nick is a former cop on the run having escaped from prison after being sentenced for stealing a valuable diamond.
I think that is enough plot for now although I will say now that I will have to reveal more of the plot to review "Man on a Ledge". Now it is an interesting opening and during these scenes we have flashbacks from Nick getting a visit inside from his former partner Mike Ackerman (Anthony Mackie) to Nick's escape when under guard he was allowed to attend a family funeral, a scene which introduces us to his brother Joey played by Jamie Bell. All of which is handled in an effective but quick manner with director Asger Leth showing his hand by only giving us scenes which are of importance, and yes Nick cleaning the cutlery in the hotel room is important. It is Leth's brevity which helps make "Man on a Ledge" an exciting movie as it is non stop with one scene after another which serves up information or action rather than just filler.
But here is the spoiler alert as things are anything but as they seem and whilst I won't go into all the details such as which cops are not what they seem I will say this. We quickly discover that opposite the hotel is the jewellery business belonging to the man who accused Nick of stealing the diamond and Nick's brother and girlfriend are going to rob the place in order to prove Nick was set up. So yes the man on a ledge is in fact a distraction to a heist but it is a complex heist as certain things need to happen at certain times and Nick's brother is no master criminal. The thing is that all of this is revealed piece by piece so you are not sure what is immediately going on and you have to keep watching for the details to come.
The trouble with "Man on a Ledge" is that after all of this build up it falls apart in front of your eyes when it comes to finding a conclusion. It is such a shame as up until then "Man on a Ledge" had been more than good but in unravelling it drops it just back down to good.
Good is the general level of the performance with Sam Worthington showing why he is a sought after actor by making his character edgy despite being stuck on a ledge, bringing urgency to his dialogue and mystery to his character. The most entertaining performances actually comes from Jamie Bell and Edward Burns as they both have a touch of humour about their characters which brings that element of relief a movie like this needs.
What this all boils down to is that "Man on a Ledge" will definitely entertain and for the most impresses especially director Asger Leth's style where every scene has a part to play. It is just a shame that the movie ends up unravelling as it tries to bring everything to a conclusion.