You'll never guess what the villain in the new movie "Man on a Ledge" does for a living.
No, Ed Harris' character isn't a crusading journalist, a nonprofit executive or a green energy czar. He's a... wait for it... super rich real estate developer out to smite the common man. Harris plays him with all the requisite sleaze the Oscar winner can muster, which is plenty.
It's Donald Trump without the unfortunate hair, but more importantly, the role represents Hollywood's latest attack on the rich. It's a trend already seen in recent fare like "In Time," "Tower Heist," and "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas
"Ledge" producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told The Huffington Post
that the film's choice of villain is no accident.
The system keeps lining up against the little guy. The movie is meant to convey that in a completely entertaining way, but the underlying desperation that drives the decision-making is that you can't catch a break in the system if you're not a guy of privilege."
By channeling real-estate mogul Donald Trump, in all his blustering arrogance, Ed Harris makes himself the perfect target for multiplex audiences battered by the economy. But he's not the first onscreen businessman in recent months to assume the villainous mantle once reserved for Nazis, Communists and Islamic terrorists on screen. "Hollywood is full of a lot of people from the one percent," di Bonaventura said, "but it also tends to be a group of people that are very cognizant of the 99 percent.
Yes, actors, screenwriters and directors are very "cognizant" of the 99 percent-ers, except they get to enjoy all the perks of the one-percent club while blasting their financial-sector peers.
What's more depressing about the villain selection is how little imagination it requires. Shouldn't a screenwriter take pride in his or her work and not want to repeat what everyone else is doing?
And that "villainous mantle" once reserved for Islamic terrorists didn't actually happen. Just ask anyone who saw "The Sum of All Fears
," which swapped out terrorists for a more politically palatable choice of villain.