‘Man on a Ledge’ Review

Published 3 years ago by , Updated November 27th, 2014 at 3:51 pm,

Man on a Ledge 2012 Review Man on a Ledge Review

People who enjoy a popcorn thriller that doesn’t offer much thought will be suitably satisfied with Man on a Ledge. Otherwise, this is one that could definitely stand to fall in the rental category.

Man on a Ledge has a title that pretty much explains its central premise: escaped convict Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) re-surfaces in an expensive Manhattan hotel, and suddenly steps out onto the ledge outside his window. At first it seems that Nick is intent on ending his life, but a series of curious decisions (as well as an unusually composed demeanor for a potential jumper) lead disgraced police negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) to discern that this mysterious jumper is actually a part of something much bigger.

That “something” involves Nick’s former life as a prominent NYPD cop who was convicted of stealing from ruthless businessman  Deavid Englander (Ed Harris), and paid the price with a long prison sentence. With the help of his brother Joey (Jaime Bell) and Joey’s girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), Nick tries to get justice for the supposed wrong done to him. But with a target on his head and the whole city watching, how does one desperate man find redemption?

Man on a Ledge is one of those B-movie single-setting thrillers that is so riddled with holes and logical inconsistencies that the pulling of any one plot thread will quickly unravel the whole show. Luckily, director Asger Leth keeps each scene in the film loaded with enough action and movement that it manages to hold the viewer’s interest – at least until it becomes apparent that script writer Pablo F. Fenjves doesn’t have that many tricks up his sleeve.

Every plot point in Man on a Ledge is pretty cliched and foreseeable, and the film ends up getting by on the inertia of tension and suspense. That is to say: you’ll probably see what’s coming, but watching it play out is still somewhat enjoyable. As events unfold, the implausibility of the entire situation only increases, and by the time that Nick Cassidy’s fate is decided, the story has pretty much gone off the rails.

Man on a Ledge is oddly miscast for a film of its stature – and by that I mean a lineup of solid performers working with some pretty undeserving material. Sam Worthington is still not the best leading man, and that’s not entirely a matter of acting. His hairdo in the film certainly doesn’t help invite the eye. Elizabeth Banks, conversely, is a likable screen presence, and brings a bit of sharp levity to her part – though her “dramatic” backstory plays out as somewhat ridiculous.

man on a ledge i1 Man on a Ledge Review

Actors like Kyra Sedgwock, Anthony Mackie, William Sadler and Ed Burns are wasted in their bit roles – with Burns being handed the especially strange task of playing a cop who stands around indifferent to all the things that are happening around him. Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez play a “BF/GF” couple who might be the least convincing professional thieves, ever. In the end, the only actor who seems to have fun is Harris, who gets to play the hammy villain.

Visually the film isn’t too bad, with Asger Leth showing solid chops for basic film construction as well as action. A lot of the heist sequences manage to create some good tension, and the editing of Kevin Stitt (Cloverfield, The Kingdom, X-Men) is smart enough to keep things moving at a good pace without letting the mind settle for too long – which is the only way this movie functions at all. As mentioned, so much of what happens in Man on a Ledge doesn’t hold up under even a second of critical thought, so the fact that watching it all play out has even a semblance of enjoyment to it is somewhat of a minor miracle in and of itself.

People who enjoy a popcorn thriller that doesn’t offer much thought will be suitably satisfied with Man on a Ledge. Otherwise, this is one that could definitely stand to fall in the “rental” category.

Man on a Ledge is now in theaters everywhere.

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Our Rating:

2.5 out of 5
(Fairly Good)

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  1. Yeah, other reviews have not been good for this either. Looks like a movie I will be skipping.

  2. The trailer made this movie look boring … and that is a bad sign to me. Thanks for the review. I count is as conformation on my first feeling towards it.

  3. It was a red flag for me when I saw the trailer and the explosion to break into some place was only like a block away from where the titular “man on a ledge” diversion was taking place. Really? Where there no other suitable ledges to divert attention to in all of New York City?

  4. Not for all the money in the world will I be seeing another movie with Sam Worthington. He has the talent and charisma of squashed earwig.

    • I agree I can’t stand him

  5. ill still be seeing this one

  6. DARN IT! I was hoping Sam Worthington’s hairdo would be awesomely bad to enjoy!!! It looks like Jean-Claude Van Damme’s in Hard Target.

  7. I personally really enjoyed this movie ;D

  8. Just saw this today… I really enjoyed it and Sam was great. I think Kofi is a bit harsh here.

  9. This movie was one of the best I have seen in a while, never judge a movie before it comes out. I personally enjoyed the heck out of it as well as everyone that was in the theater with me.

  10. I wonder if it’s anywhere as exciting as Colin Farrell in Phone Booth? Sort of the same concept I think…And that one was pretty good…

  11. Okay,once in a while,whats wrong with an action movie,that does not have a deep down message . Maybe a popcorn no agenda movie is okay-to the Critic’s-take it easy~Let a simple movie with real life like action play -Enjoy this one for what it is~Simple -Pass the Popcorn~

  12. This is what Hollywood would love to churn out 24/7 and have everyone eat it up like their favorite breakfast cereal. I guess every movie has a demographic but if Kofi is right this one looks very slim indeed…

  13. I’d go see it. It looks kinda interesting.

  14. The title alone is enough to make me walk away. Can we say, “Snakes on a Plane.” I mean, what’s next, “Criminal with a Gun?” I mean, come on!

    • Haha, Channing Tatum is….”The Man With A Plan”
      Channing Tatum is…..”The Bomber On The Train”
      Channing Tatum is….”The Singer Of The Band”

  15. I really liked the film and so did the people of varying ages and movie tastes that went with me. We liked it and recommend the film

  16. Probably a stupid question to some, but…
    are there a lot of shots in the film that really emphasize that he is on a ledge WAY high up? I mean like those “zooming down” type shots?

    kind of stupid, I know, but I literally get nauseous when I see that kind of thing. I’m definitely afraid of heights. enough to make me physically ill.

    From the review this definitely sounds like a rental, however… the “ledge” part of it makes it a more questionable rental for me.

    • Great point. I totally agree. As I have written below, I am quite amazed with the nature of the critiques to that movie. The ledge is so well filmed that you are literally trapped there, and feel the tension. This is brilliantly exploited to make you feel “things” you never felt before. Am I exagerating? Recommending this film for rental is kind of mean. I will never read critiques again, at least not before watching a movie (only after, like now)

  17. Loved the movie…
    It was action filled and for a thriller it had an excellent ending. Which is unusual for that type of movie as they usually keep you hanging.

    I would recommend seeing the movies at the theatre, and if you decide not to it is must see rental.

    Overall 4.5/5

  18. I have seen this movie, and it is certainly nothing stupid. If for the most, it seems rushed, but it is one of the best flicks for the season. Trust me, see it.

    • It is certainly quite stupid. Its plot makes absolutely no sense. Here’s one major issue: how except filming the whole thing could Cassidy ever prove that Ed Harris had the diamond in his vault to begin with? The diamond was never found; the courts had assumed that it had been cut into unidentifiable pieces, but there was nothing to stop Cassidy from having had his family pretend to find it in a vault as an elaborate ploy to make himself look innocent.

      And, uh, none of the other plot details make sense. Like why would Ed Harris ever have put the diamond in his coat pocket to begin with? Etc.

  19. I honestly fell asleep, i don’t want to be to negative but what was the point in this film? To me it seems like a total waste of money. Why don’t the film makers ask the people on this site what they want or for ideas, as to be honest after reading the reviews on here, you lot have much better idea of what’s good and what’s not, and this is totally a Not, it’s just plain boring.

  20. I enjoyed the movie especially the ending part where he eventually jumped..not much of a classic thriller but overall a good movie

  21. you won’t regret watching it. I’d just watched it last night and found it enjoyable and didn’t need you to think too much. Good movie!

    • It’s not that it didn’t need you think too much. It’s that it needed you not to think at all.

  22. This movie is one of the best action movies I have ever seen. The critiques to this movie are shocking. For example, saying that the thieves were unconvincing does not make sense, because the whole point is you dont know whether they will succeed or not (Tom Cruise in Mision imposible will, but not those guys). This brilliantly creates tension. I strongly recommend this movie because it of the original and well executed tricks used to create anxiety, joy, enthusiasm… and have a wonderful time without much thinking (that’s true)

  23. As odd as this movie was, and that’s the best word i can used to describe it being that i’m kind of “EH” with it. I have to admit **SPOILER AHEAD* it is really awesome when he just jumps off the ledge and CG Sam Worthingon plunges down to the street. It’s kind of like the literal translation of the opening sequence of Mad Men

  24. Great web site. Plenty of helpful information here. I am sending it to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks for your effort!

  25. Thanks for the auspicious writeup. It actually was once a leisure account it. Glance complicated to more introduced agreeable from you! However, how can we keep in touch?

  26. Really good movie, to all the people hating on Sam. Did you forget he was in Avatar that made over 1billion dollars? Action packed. One of the best movies that came out of the beginning of the year.

  27. Just watched it last night and found it fun and do not need to think too much. Good film! I am sure you will not regret watching it

  28. The movie introduces a man, Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), in jail, who is falsely accused of stealing a diamond from the millionaire Ed Harris (David Englander). The diamond is worth forty million dollars, which means whoever stole it is faced with 25 years in prison. During the movie, Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) uses himself as a distractment by faking a suicide attempt. While he is on the ledge and “ready to jump”, his brother and his brother’s girlfriend use sophisticated technology and clever strategies to steal back the diamond; to prove that Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) did not steal it. Throughout unthinkable tasks and obstacles, the diamond is revealed, proving that it was never stolen in the first place. Ed Harris (David Englander), the millionaire, just wanted to be paid more money, because if the diamond was “lost”, it meant that he would have to be reimbursed from its insurance. Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) the man on the ledge, was simply used to be framed in order for the owner of the diamond to get more money.

    This movie signifies pride. It proves that a man will go through drastic measures and countless obstacles to ensure his innocence to the world. All this man wants is to live the life that he deserves; with a clean name. In our lives, we tend to attempt even the most difficult challenges to save our name. Our entire world consists of what we stand by; the principals we follow and the name we will leave behind. Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) did not want to leave this world in a jail, with the rest of the world knowing that he was a thief. He wanted to bring his name to justice and save his own reputation. He wanted to simply live the truth.

  29. I was pleasantly surprised with this movie; it kept me on the edge of my seat. I recommend it to anybody who enjoys a thrill. I was hesitant at first, but I’m very happy I decided to watch it. The turning twist at the end of the movie makes it even more exciting.