Once upon a time there was an actor named Sam Worthington who, despite playing major roles in some serious blockbusters (Avatar) and performing admirably in more dramatic and complex roles (The Debt), never seems to get any respect from movie critics. With 'Man on a Ledge', this will most likely continue even though he, along with a great supporting cast, delivers a top notch thriller that was most unexpected.
'Man on a Ledge' begins with Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) checking in to a hotel and, after enjoying a champagne and lobster breakfast, proceeds to climb out the window and on to the ledge of his room which is on the 21st floor of the hotel. He is quickly noticed by people walking along the streets below and, after the block is sealed off by New York's finest, a team is brought in to talk Cassidy off the ledge.
Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) is in charge of bringing the man back inside although she quickly learns that Cassidy, an ex-cop who just recently escaped from prison, has more on his mind than deciding on whether to end it all by jumping off that ledge. With the help of a few close friends and family members, a plan is set in motion to reclaim his life from those that set him up to take the fall that landed him in prison.
Director Asger Leth, a relative newcomer, has put together a thrilling drama that will give audiences quite a ride and actually had me on the edge of my seat during a good portion of the 102 minute running time. The tempo of the movie was very intense with the stakes getting higher and higher as more and more of Cassidy's plan is revealed.
Jamie Bell, Elizabeth Banks, Ed Burns, and newcomer Genesis Rodriguez (who I hope we get to see more and more of down the road) all seem like they are really having a good time with the roles they are playing which leads to some great interaction between the characters.
Of particular note are Bell, who plays Cassidy's brother Joey, and Rodriguez as Joey's girlfriend Angie. The two are constantly bickering even while performing a Mission: Impossible style break-in of a highly secured building. The two add a really fun element to the movie that is a nice contrast to the intense drama going on elsewhere.
On the down side, I was actually disappointed in Ed Harris, normally one of my favorites, who just didn't seem to be in to the role as much as I wanted him to be as well as Anthony Mackie, who really didn't bring much to the table playing Cassidy's former partner Mike Ackerman.
The plot of this movie is really nothing earth shattering and you will not find any outrageous special effects shots, but there are just enough twists and turns to keep things interesting and I never once felt like I wanted things to move along so we could get to the good stuff.
'Man on a Ledge' is satisfying in a way that bigger, more explosive movies sometimes forget and, if the screening I attended is any indication, will have audiences gasping and cheering for some time.