Saturday, January 28, 2012

Man on a Ledge [2012]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  Roger Ebert (2 Stars)  Fr. Dennis (2 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing -
CNS/USCCB review -
Roger Ebert's review -

Man on a Ledge (directed by Asger Leth and written by Pablo F. Fenjives) is a film simple enough in concept that I suspect a fair number of people will object to account of its implicit politics:  Two years after NYPD cop Nick Cassidy (played by Sam Worthington) is framed by New York financier "big shot" David Englander (played by Ed Harris) for stealing a diamond that never went missing (but Englander needed to report missing for the insurance money to cover his Leeman Bros. losses) Cassidy improbably breaks out of prison and sets about doing the only thing that he could do to prove his innocence: prove that Englander still has the diamond.

How does he do that?  Well, he rents a room in a highrise upscale hotel next to Englander's headquarters and _walks out on a ledge_.  Why does he do that?  Well, to distract the police while his brother Joey (played by Jamie Bell) and Joey's hot (and more practically _thin_) girlfriend Angie (played by Genesis Rodriguez) break into Englander's offices to steal the diamond (and thus prove that Englander had it all along).  Of course much happens.

Obviously, the film requires a good deal of suspension of disbelief.  That Nick Cassidy would have been a cop, and then one who had previously "worked" in a sense for Englander (who had enough "clout" in the city to "borrow" cops on occasion for "security") does help the story somewhat.  Nick Cassidy (and presumably then his brother) would know something of Englander's security setup in his offices.  Nick would also know a fair amount about NYPD protocols.  Still, there's a "come-on" feel to the film.

On the other hand, it is probable that (1) "terrorists" could first take-control and hijack an entire U.S. battleship, and then (2) a single sailor, a lowly "cook" (who it turned-out was actually a Navy Seal only pretending to be a cook) could then take-down the terrorists, one-by-one, and eventually re-take the whole ship?  NO.  But it makes for one heck of a movie for a lot of American men facing declining economic prospects, competition from foreigners abroad and women and home and who may have felt Under Siege [1992] by it all.

Man on a Ledge is a similar kind of film.  It plays on a widely-held sense among the American public that "the little guy," who even followed the rules (a good cop) "took the fall" for 2008 financial crisis, while the big-shot Wall Street financiers who caused the crisis "walked between the rain-drops" and got away with _massive theft_ "scot-free."

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  1. There is a lot to be entertained by here but there is also way too much that we can’t actually take seriously and it actually ends up being more of just a silly thriller that has a good cast, that doesn’t really do much. Good review Dennis.

  2. Hi Dan (the Man!) - I agree, it's not the most realistic of films. Still, it does entertain, and I do think it "works" because like films like "Under Siege" it "speaks to viewers" on "another level" ;-). Indeed, film studies people have noted that watching movies is in fair part comparable to a "mass dream experience." (It's usually fairly late in the evening, one's watching the movie in the dark, it's mostly quiet. One's more rational guard is generally partly down... ;-)