Title: Man on a Ledge
Year: 2012
Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime
Play time: 
Director: Asger Leth
Screenwriters: Pablo F. Fenjves
Starring: Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell

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

Seeking in movies meaning and reflection in real-time. On the look out for biography, thriller & drama best pieces.

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