Friday, November 09, 2012

"Man on a Ledge" is a stereotyped quasi-noir thriller

The title “Man on a Ledge” suggests a 1940s style film noir thriller, and in fact the early 2012 film from director Asger Leth and Summit Entertainment is a rather stereotyped thriller.

It starts with a handsome Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington, from “Avatar”) climbing out onto a 30th floor ledge of an rococo mid-town Manhattan hotel.  We learn that he is an ex-cop and, pretty soon in a well-down flashback with a car chase (from a funeral) and a train wreck, that he’s also an escaped con.  And it isn’t long, before, in conversation with a deposed police negotiator (Elizabeth Banks), we learn that he was framed.

The villain is Wall Street magnate David Englander (a gaunt Ed Harris), who had framed Nick for a jewelry heist (anticipating the plotting of a more recent British film “Comes a Bright Day”), faked for insurance money to recover his own losses from the pre-financial crisis of 2008 (involving Lehman Brothers).  He says that a real man “gets back what is taken from him”.

Much of the rest of the film concerns the efforts of Nick’s "baby" brother Joey (a very lithe Jamie Bell) and girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriquez) use all kinds of 70s technology (including liquid nitrogen) to break into Englander’s vault.  These sequences are quite detailed and extensive, but are rather stereotyped; we’ve seen this in movies before (like the smash-and-grab in "Oceans 11") – as well as in some “Smallville” episodes. The young couple becomes the "heroes" and most likable characters in the film. 

A crowd gathers on the street, wanting to see a jumper; it was rather surprising to me that a police air cushion is enough to break someone’s fall from that height.

Summit Entertainment does not have a separate site domain for this film.

The picture is the Hotel New Yorker (2012).  I stayed there in summer of 1964 (World's Fair) when the rate was just $9 a night. 

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