DVD Review - The Ledge

The opening shot is a three-minute, static, city skyline. There is a steeple with a cross atop with office buildings, square and uniform, behind it, as well as smoke stacks in the background, spewing actual smoke. The next scene is Hollis, played by Oscar-nominee Terrence Howard, being told that he's infertile. These first five minutes set up something that could be very interesting.

A man learns that he can't have kids. Could it be the result of pollution because of our over-industrialized world as represented by the smoke stacks? Who does that man turn to or turn away from, as indicated by the steeple? Watching him deal with this issue in relation to the environment and society with religion thrown into it would have been interesting, but that's not what we get here.

The Ledge reduces what could have been a great or even thrilling piece on faith and its application to help or hurt people into basic jealousy and portraying a religious man as a nut. It also hinges on a character making a stupid decision, which just doesn't jive with how that character is portrayed leading up to that decision. It's just frustrating because the movie had a lot of potential.

Hollis is a cop who is called to the scene of a man standing on the edge of one of those very tall buildings, square and uniform, ready to jump off it. Hollis is sent to talk the man to safety. The man on the edge is Gavin, played by Charlie Hunnam. Gavin is a hotel manager who hires a new housekeeper named Shana, played by Liv Tyler. Shana is an aspiring musician, studying to be an accountant. Gavin and Shana have feelings for each other, but Shana is married to Joe, played by Patrick Wilson. Joe works for an oil refinery. When Joe learns that Gavin's roommate, Chris, played by Christopher Gorham, is gay, Joe's religiousness shows its harsh and intolerant side, although it's couched in dulcet tones.

Gavin challenges Joe on his religious objections to homosexuality and eventually uses that as a way of getting at Shana with whom he falls in love. Writer-director Matthew Chapman actually creates a great debate between Gavin and Joe. Yet, Chapman starts and ends the film with Hollis and sprinkles his story a little in between. It's hardly enough to even justify its existence. By the end, I didn't care about Hollis, but, because Howard is such a good actor, even in this limited capacity, I wanted to care about him. As it related to what was going on with Gavin, I'm not sure what the point was with what Hollis learns in his personal life after the news of his infertility.

Patrick Wilson as Joe was very fascinating nonetheless. His embracing of religion as a result of his substance abuse problems was a good angle for him to play off. I'm not sure I appreciated his violent turn, only because where Joe ends up is not where I'd assume. Gavin is out on the ledge when Joe should have been the one up there.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated R for sexuality, language and some violent content.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 41 mins.


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