Man on a Ledge

The financial meltdown is the new Iraq War when it comes to pop culture metaphors, which I guess is how we ended up with Man on a Ledge, a thoroughly half-assed thriller about a group of New Yorkers gaping at an elaborate sideshow while a robbery takes place in the next building over. The context, sadly, is what might be one of the worst heist plots of all time, a ludicrously contrived potboiler about an innocent cop who escapes from prison and attempts to clear his name by actually stealing the thing he was framed for stealing the first time around.

Which he decides to do by climbing out onto the ledge of a skyscraper to… distract everyone? I guess? I’m honestly not sure. The film is machine-tooled, not to make sense, but to work in as many pre-fabricated parts as humanly possible, and who cares if they don’t fit: a negotiator wracked with guilt over losing a jumper! A fat cat villain who schemes and sneers and says things like “You lose! Again!” A daring techno-heist! A sexy Latina who must strip at strategic points so the camera can ogle her! Man in a Ledge works surprisingly well as metaphor (there’s something to the notion a real estate magnate framing a working class scheme for stealing from himself), but the screenplay is so relentlessly stupid that watching this talented cast (including Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, and Elizabeth Banks) trying to duck its idiocies is painful. Director Asger Leth, making his first narrative feature, doesn’t help matters by keeping the film in an even-keeled, polished-action-flick-101 stupor. I hope everyone was well-paid.

-- Eugene Novikov

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Screening Log

Snitch

Ric Roman Waugh, 2013

Score: C

Side Effects

Steven Soderbergh, 2013

Score: C+

10 Years

Jamie Linden, 2012

Score: B-

The Place Beyond the Pines

Derek Cianfrance, 2013

Score: B+

Warm Bodies

Jonathan Levine, 2013

Score: C

Beautiful Creatures

Richard LaGravanese, 2013

Score: B-

The Window

Ted Tetzlaff, 1949

Score: B+

The Chase

Arthur Ripley, 1946

Score: B

Street of Chance

Jack Hively, 1942

Score: C

The Taste of Money

Im Sang-Soo, 2013

Score: C+

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