Man on a Ledge (8/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 102
OK for children.
When I saw the
trailer, which shows Sam Worthington standing on the ledge outside his
hotel room far above a New York City street while Elizabeth Banks is
trying to talk him back into the room, this was not a film I wanted to
But this isn't
about some sicky threatening to commit suicide. There's method in
Worthington's madness and it's really a caper and revenge film with
Worthington as a cop who escaped from jail after being tried and
imprisoned for stealing a diamond from evil mogul Ed Harris.
Leth gets terrific performances from Worthington, Banks, Harris, Jamie
Bell as Worthington's brother, and Genesis Rodriguez as Bell's
girlfriend. Kyra Sedgwick gives an entertaining performance as a
fame-seeking TV reporter, and Edward Burns is effective as a cop who is
replaced by Banks as the primary negotiator to get Worthington off the
ledge. Anthony Mackie does a good job as Worthington's former partner on
the force who seems sympathetic to Sam's plight.
The script by
Pablo F. Fenjves has been bouncing around for quite awhile. Producer
Lorenzo di Bonaventura wanted to option it while he was president of
Warner Bros. It passed through MGM and Paramount Vantage before di
Bonventura finally sold Summit Entertainment on the project.
Worthington did actually get out on the ledge of the 21st floor of the
Roosevelt Hotel in New York and shot some scenes out there, 200 feet
above 45th Street, even though most of the scenes were shot in the
studio when he was only 8 feet off the ground. Worthington had a fear of
heights, so the first time he crawled out on the ledge was a shot that
was printed. Producer Mark Vahradian said, "…that was…valuable actually
shooting there. you could see that he knew he was up 200 feet in the
air, and we especially wanted to get that on the first moments that he
stepped out there, 'cause he'd never done it before and you get that
look in his eyes. And that for us was priceless."
Frankly, I find
it a little hard to believe that a studio would risk a big star on what
appears to be an 24-inch ledge 200 feet above the ground without some
sort of safety precautions. The famous film (Safety Last, 1923)
of Harold Lloyd hanging from the hands of a clock 10 stories above
Hollywood Boulevard was shot from an angle that made it look as if he
were dangling 100 feet above the street, but in reality a balcony had
been built and he was only a few feet off the floor of the balcony. It's
the angle that makes it look dangerous.
In this film,
however, the camera swings above Worthington and it looks like there's
nothing between him and certain death. However they did it, it's very
effective and makes yours heels tickle to watch it.