High and low
Man on a Ledge
Direction: Asger Leth
Cast: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks
As the title indicates, this tepid thriller does indeed feature a man on a ledge for almost the entire running time of 100 minutes.
Somewhat reminiscent of the publicist played by Colin Farrell in Phone Booth (2003), a former cop-turned-felon (Worthington) perches hesitantly outside the window of a high-rise hotel room in Manhattan.
Threatening to jump off, the man demands to speak with a police negotiator (Banks) who's clearly having a bad hair day herself.
What initially seems sheer folly is quickly revealed to be an elaborate ruse to be exonerated from the charges of a diamond heist.
The ticking clock atmosphere precipitates a police standoff, TV news coverage, besides a crowd of onlookers who actually exhort the man to jump off. Frankly at times, we feel like shoving him ourselves.
Despite the dizzying, high-altitude setting, the film seldom induces a sense of vertigo. Crammed with twists and turns, the script tests the limits of audience credulity. The bagatelle peters out with a crucial character resurfacing for a family reunion. What a contrivance!
As the ledge-mates, Sam Worthing-ton and Elizabeth Banks share precious little chemistry. Worse, the flirtatious banter between the cop's brother (Jamie Bell) and his skimpily-clad girlfriend grates on the ears. As the capitalist crook, the normally bankable Ed Harris is reduced to a cipher.
Neither great nor ghastly Man on a Ledge just about makes it to the goodish grade.