Movie Review - Man on a Ledge

A year prior to this film's release, there was another film simply titled The Ledge (2011), which was similarly about a man who stands outside a window on a very tall building, ready to jump and a police officer who has to talk him down. Here, the man is Nick Cassidy, played by Sam Worthington (Avatar and Clash of the Titans). The police officer is Lydia Mercer, played by Elizabeth Banks (The 40-Year-Old Virgin and W.). As with both films, there is a mystery with ties to grander real-world issues.

Except, my comparisons will switch. The Ledge is an obvious counterpoint, but while I was watching Man on a Ledge, my thoughts went more to Spike Lee's Inside Man (2006). I found a lot more similarities between what Lee was trying to do six years ago and what director Asger Leth was trying to do now. I suppose more bonds are to be had between screenwriters Russell Gewirtz and Pablo F. Fenjves, respectively.

Inside Man dealt with what looked like a bank robbery. Man on a Ledge deals with what looks like a diamond heist. Inside Man ends up having a villain who is an old man with connections to real-world social ills, namely the Holocaust. Man on a Ledge also ends up having a villain who's an old man with such connections. Except here, it's the 2008 financial crisis.

Jamie Bell (Billy Elliott and The Eagle) plays Joey Cassidy, Nick's younger brother. He along with his girlfriend, Angie, played by Genesis Rodriguez, both could have been rejects pulled from Ocean's Eleven because they deftly work to pull off a diamond heist across the street from the midtown Manhattan building where Nick has perched himself as basically a distraction to keep the NYPD occupied.

The diamond in question belongs to David Englander, the aforementioned villain, played by Oscar-nominee Ed Harris (Apollo 13 and The Truman Show). Englander is a real estate magnate who owns the Monarch diamond, a very, very expensive piece of jewelry, one that needs to be protected in a special vault that has cameras, heat sensors, eye-scanning locks and reinforced doors.

The heist and subsequent conspiracy thriller aren't bad. It's all quite engaging, though the chemistry between Worthington and Banks isn't there. A rapport is supposed to build for them. I'm not sure I really bought it. There were moments when Worthington's Australian accent spilled through, but quite frankly I thought Worthington had better chemistry with Anthony Mackie who plays Mike Ackerman, a cop and friend.

There are two fairly good chase scenes. One in the beginning injects a good dose of energy into the film. Ironically, it's one in a scene you'd think wouldn't have that kind of energy. It's a funeral scene. The second is through the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City where the majority of the movie takes place.

Leth and his team shoot 200 feet in the air on the 21st floor. The filmmakers pull off some nice stunts high up there. Edward Burns who I always enjoy was great as the comic relief. He played Jack Dougherty, another cop acting as negotiator. He had a better rapport with Banks than Worthington. I almost wanted him to be involved more.

Three Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for violence and brief strong language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 42 mins.


  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 Marlon.


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