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Man on a Ledge (2012)
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/29/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/1/2012
I've been doing a lot of research lately on how to sell a screenplay and the general consensus is that anyone who would be in the position to either buy or broker a script is very busy. Therefore, the premise of the screenplay should be able to be told in a succinct manner which hooks the interested party. This can be much harder than it sounds, as some scripts are more about the overall experience than a story which can be boiled down to one or two sentences. However, some screenplays perfectly fit this criteria and Man on a Ledge is one of them. It's seemingly simple idea is simply a jumping off point (pun intended) for a (somewhat) deeper story.
Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is a former cop who claims that he's been falsely accused of a crime. He escapes from prison and after visiting a safehouse of sorts which he created for himself, goes to the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan. He checks in, eats a fancy dinner, and then climbs out on the ledge outside of his window. He's immediately noticed by people on the street and very soon, the police, in the guise of Jack Dougherty (Edward Burns) arrive on the scene. However, Nick demands to speak to Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), a police employee who specializes in talking to those who want to hurt themselves. When she arrives, Nick speaks to her, but refuses to leave the ledge. What does Nick want? Why does he keep looking at the building across the street? Who is he talking to in his earpiece? As the day goes on, these questions will be answered and we learn that suicide is the furthest thing from Nick's mind.
If you're like me, you saw the trailer/commercial for Man on a Ledge and thought, "A guy on a ledge? Is that it?". Well, it's not. I don't want to give away too much, but Nick's journey onto the ledge is only part of his plan. The other part involves his brother, Joey (Jamie Bell). Together, they want to prove Nick's innocence. While Nick is on the ledge, Joey is involved in a sub-plot which plays more like a Ocean's Eleven-type heist movie. The result is a movie which switches back and forth between the two stories, offering two different kinds of suspense. This helps to break up the monotony of what could have been a very mundane movie. By switching back and forth between the two stories, Man on a Ledge keeps from growing stagnant.
The problem with the film is that it runs out of plot twists far too early. Again, screenwriter Pablo F. Fenjves has created a story which has a great hook, and once we learn about the secondary story, things become even more intriguing. But, from there, Man on a Ledge becomes very linear and predictable. Essentially, the third act is going to go one of two ways and only the most pessimistic viewer will be able to guest what is going to happen. That's not to imply that nothing happens, as all of the subplots clash in the finale, but we are simply left to wait for the inevitable as opposed to being surprised. Also, I'm not a physics teacher, but I'm fairly certain that some properties regarding inertia are ignored during final reel.
So, Man on a Ledge is a mixed bag. The movie is much more than it appears to be at first glance, as it goes far beyond what the title would imply. But, once it gets there, things get a bit pedestrian. The movie does feature an impressive cast and the action rarely slows down. Man on a Ledge is a satisfying action film, but it's also the kind of movie which has very little replay value.
Man on a Ledge has no fear of heights on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Lionsgate. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 30 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The crisp image reveals a great deal of detail, and yet shots which we know must be green-screen look seamless. The depth of the image is good as well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track takes great advantage of the various sounds available here. The scenes on the ledge treat us to an abundance of surround and stereo effects which are nicely detailed. We can pick out the individual sounds coming from the street or from the wind. Gunshots and explosions provide deep subwoofer effects.
The Man on a Ledge Blu-ray Disc contains only two extras. "The Ledge" (15 minutes) is a making-of featurette which examines how the filmmakers tackled the idea of shooting a movie which takes place mostly on a ledge. We see the search for the proper building, and then we see how the faux ledge was constructed on a real building. While some scenes were shot on a soundstage, much was shot on the "real" ledge. This contains a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage showing Worthington wearing his safety harness, acting on the ledge. The other extra is one of the weirdest that I've ever seen. It's the THEATRICAL TRAILER, which isn't so unusual, but it's shown with AUDIO COMMENTARY from actress Elizabeth Banks. Yes, this is just as silly as it sounds, but as least it's something different.
Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long