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There really is no other way to describe MAN ON A LEDGE than to simply call it Phone Booth meets The Negotiator. It’s a mildly entertaining thriller that throws originality out the window. I think it’s cute that it badly wants to be taken as a smart, edgy, heist action with unexpected twists and turns but once that juice runs out, as soon as the creativity hits the wall, everything about this movie falls apart..
An ex-cop and now wanted fugitive (Sam Worthington) stands on the ledge of a high-rise building while a hard-living New York Police Department negotiator (Elizabeth Banks)tries to talk him down. The longer they are on the ledge, the more she realizes that he might have an ulterior objective.
Somebody needs to tell Sam Worthington to either get an acting coach or fire the one he already has because not only does his terrible American accent keeps going on and off, the man practically has the same expression and presence in all his movies, at least since Avatar, which is probably the first time that general American audiences were exposed to Worthington.
Elizabeth Banks is as dull as dull can be, talking to a negotiator like that makes you want to jump off the ledge instead. Other better-staged heist films would see MAN ON A LEDGE and laugh their ass off.
MAN ON A LEDGE is essentially is a man who tries to prove his innocence, there’s a plot within a plot, he makes the world think one situation while another related situation is happening at the same time. The interaction between the negotiator Lydia Mercer (Banks) and Nick Cassidy (Worthington) is underdeveloped.
The only great performance in this film is by Ed Harris and even he couldn’t save this ship from sinking. The way the film plays all sides is uneven and it’s so obvious about it. The whole thing does feel like a it’s handled by inexperienced filmmakers and screenwriters who bite off more than they can chew and so the results are consistent plot holes, surprises that don’t make any sense and easy way outs.
GRADE: 2 out of 5
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