by David Dougan
Basically, the movie Man On A Ledge is exactly what it says it is. Sam Worthington is the man in question, and he spends the majority of the movie on a ledge, outside the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan. Worthington plays ex-cop Nick Cassidy, who claims he has been wrongly imprisoned after being accused of stealing a diamond worth $40million from businessman David Englander (Ed Harris).
But he’s not on the ledge to jump. He’s out there to provide a distraction for his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and his girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) as they attempt to break into Englander’s vault, find the diamond and prove that Nick was set up. It’s an elaborate and dangerous plan. Englander might be a hugely successful businessman, but he’s far from squeaky clean, and Joey and Angie might just disappear if they are caught, while Nick will go straight back to jail.
To help his cause, Nick asks directly for Lydia Mercer, a police negotiator who has recently made headlines for the wrong reasons, after someone she was trying to save jumped from a nearby bridge. Nick thinks that she will believe his story because she’s been made an outcast following her failure, but time is running out after the NYPD discover who he is. When Englander is alerted to Cassidy’s actions (Englander owns the hotel and the building where he keeps the Diamond is across the street), he wants things dealt with quickly, ordering another officer from the negotiating unit to deal with it quickly or he’ll be out of job. Elsewhere, Nick’s former partner Mike Ackerman (Anthony Mackie) is working out why Nick escaped from prison, and what he is going to do next.
As soon as the movie begins, it’s clear that Man On A Ledge is going to have one big problem, and that is its lead, Sam Worthington. Supposedly a veteran New York city cop, Worthington’s accent is pure Aussie, despite Jamie Bell at least attempting an American accent as his brother. He delivers his lines in one way, gruntily, with little range or emotion evident. He can handle the action scenes capably, overpowering cops as he escapes from their custody, and taking on others later in the movie. But despite appearing in big budget franchise movies like Avatar (assuming James Cameron ever makes a sequel, fingers crossed he doesn’t) and Terminator: Salvation, Worthington just isn’t a particularly good actor.
The rest of the cast is more than capable, with Ed Harris in fiery form as Englander, and Ed Burns and Titus Welliver as members of the negotiating team. Elizabeth Banks might not be an obvious choice to play a tough police negotiator, but she gives a good and convincing performance as she tries to work with Nick to come to a resolution.
Other than Worthington’s performance, Man On A Ledge is a decent movie. The way the script ties together is not particularly complicated or original, but the action is fine and the movie moves along at a good pace. While it won’t be listed amongst the best movies of the year, it certainly won’t be amongst the worst either. Man On A Ledge is enjoyable, not memorable.