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Man On A Ledge - Film Review

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by Matt Elliot Taylor (subscribe)
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - John Lennon
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Copyright Summit Entertainment


A cold, busy morning in New York City. A man checks into his high-rise apartment with a great view. So great a view in fact that he opens his window and climbs out onto the ledge bringing about a crisis involving robbery, deception and corruption in a new thriller aptly titled Man On A Ledge.

The man in question is Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), an ex-cop who is serving a 25-year sentence in the Sing Sing Correction Facility for the robbery of a very valuable diamond owned by the rich-but-ruthless businessman David Englander (Ed Harris). He has always maintained his innocence but when he escapes prison after he learns of his father's death, he will make sure that this time he is heard. Using the 'suicide jumper routine' as a distraction, across the street, his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and Joey's girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez) are actually breaking into Englander's office building in an effort to steal the diamond - for the first time. Detective Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) tries desperately to negotiate with Cassidy to no avail and with little or no support from her partner Jack Dougherty (Ed Burns). But as an investigation ensues and nobody appears to be who they seem, an organisation riddled with murder, double-crossing and corruption is exposed.

Directed by newcomer Asger Leth, what starts as the typical story of an innocent fugitive on the run, quickly becomes quite an intriguing and exciting little heist thriller that is given some depth from the investigation of police corruption and the war of personal vendetta waged by Cassidy against Englander, who he believes set him up.

There are some very interesting casting choices here. In particular, Elizabeth Banks, who must have made quite an impression in her audition because there's no way she landed the role based on a resume that includes The 40-Year-Old Virgin [2005] and Zack and Miri Make A Porno [2009]. Sam Worthington is always a strong screen presence, and here he plays the rough-and-tough puppet master of the situation with great confidence. Also a treat is Ed Harris as the evil businessman, and it looks like he's having a bit of fun with this one.

Director Leth has gone to some great lengths to not sink into cliché but at the same time, is careful not to be too original. The film walks a tightrope between the two and Leth is very selective with what parts of the story work better as cliché and what new ingredients can be thrown in where. There are some moments where you'll grown and say "I've heard/seen that before!" but there will be other times where you'll say "Hey that's pretty cool!".

With its interesting dynamic sense of casting and some good plot twists and turns (some very predictable), Man On A Ledge makes for a solid effort at a heist thriller. People with a fear of heights be warned, but if you don't have a fear of heights then this film might just make you think twice.

3 stars out of 5

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Why? A solid effort at a heist thriller
When: 27 January 2012 (US), 2 February 2012 (AUS), 3 February 2012 (UK)
Where: Your local cinema
Cost: Check your local cinema for details
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