Man on a Ledge – 2012
Directed by Asger Leth
Starring Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Anthony Mackie, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Génesis Rodríguez, Edward Burns, Titus Welliver, Kyra Sedgewick, William Sadler
Screenplay by Pablo Fenjves
This is one of those types of movies that you get to make when you are Sam Worthington, An impressive career thus far, with blockbusters (Terminator Salvation, Clash and Wrath of the Titans), some decent mid-range films (The Debt and Texas Killing Fields) and the mega-blockbuster of all time (Avatar), Worthingon is reaching the stage where it’s time to see if he is the beneficiary of good special effects or truly someone who can carry a movie.
The trailer for Man on a Ledge made it look as bad as This Means War‘s trailer did. From it we find that Worthington, as Nick Cassidy, is an innocent man convicted of stealing a diamond from Ed Harris’ David Englander. Of course the jewel had never been stolen in the first place. Now, he is distracting the world by threatening to jump off of the building across the street from where the diamond is. As his brother Joey (Bell) and Joey’s girlfriend (Rodriguez) are working in that building to procure the item and, hence, prove Nick’s innocence.
There’s a lot of asking for trust, making tough choices, “this is my scene” kill shot, and the like. It really goes nowhere you did not expect. Joey’s girlfriend is there almost entirely so we get to see her in a bikini. William Sadler is there to be just about the opposite of what he was in Die Hard 2. Kyra Sedgewick, as a nosy reporter, uses zero of the talent that she exhibits in The Closer. Add to the mix a douche bag cop (Burns, surprise!), a crooked ex-cop partner (Mackie, going against type), a tough, crooked command cop (Welliver) and Ed Harris in long hair bald bad guy mode, and you have an average thriller. Now add Elizabeth Banks as a cop who’s had a series of bad days since the last jumper jumped and the movie is slightly better. Slightly.
Writer Fenjeves had been a neighbor of Nicole Brown Simpson at the time of her murder. He was in the trial, and subsequently helped O.J. as a ghost writer of the book, If I Did It. It would have been much more interesting had he made a movie about this, but, this did not happen. Instead, we get a retread of other average stories. If not for the acting of Worthington, Banks and Harris, this one would not be worth watching. Even with them, it’s still debatable.
So, what is the verdict for Worthington? Is he capable of carrying a film. The jury is out, even if he is ultimately innocent.
(**1/2 out of *****)