Thursday, February 6, 2014

Man on a Ledge (2012) [PG-13] ***

Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is a former NYPD police officer who’s doing 25 years at Sing Sing prison for grand theft. However, during a one-day release to attend his father’s funeral, Nick escapes, and we next see him on a ledge outside the 21st floor of the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan. As the NYPD cordon off the block and attempt to talk him off the ledge, Nick demands to talk to Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), a police psychologist trained in suicide rescues and hostage negotiations. But, as the minutes tick by, Mercer begins to doubt whether Cassidy really is suicidal, or whether he might be stalling to buy time for some reason. And when the police identify Cassidy as an ex-cop and an escaped convict, Mercer realizes that she has to decide whether or not she believes his story.

While the film’s title is Man on a Ledge, the pivotal character is Lydia Mercer, and she is, figuratively, a woman on a ledge, until she actually climbs out on the ledge with Cassidy. Sam Worthington and Elizabeth Banks are well cast, and are convincing in their roles, but if you expect much romantic chemistry between them, as Banks had with Mark Wahlberg in Invincible or with Ryan Reynolds in Definitely, Maybe, you’ll be disappointed. In addition, several of the supporting cast members are two-dimensional stereotypes, including Ed Harris who plays a Donald Trump - like real estate developer, Edward Burns as Lydia Mercer's supervisor and Kyra Sedgwick as an obnoxious TV reporter.

As thrillers go, Man on a Ledge is reasonably entertaining, although there are sufficient plot holes that you may find yourself doubting whether it really could happen. The film has roughly the entertainment value of Entrapment, but it is not nearly as good as thrillers like The Italian Job (2013), Shooter or The Bourne Identity. Nevertheless, if you set your expectations low enough, you won’t be disappointed.

Labels: action, crime, thriller
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 40/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=48, viewers=66)

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