"Man on a Ledge" is a tight little crime thriller—a heist-movie variant—with a few small problems and one big one. Given the top-notchness of the supporting actors here assembled—Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Titus Welliver—the casting of doughy Sam Worthington in the lead seems crucially ill-advised.
True, Worthington was also the nominal star of James Cameron’s "Avatar"; but really, who will ever think of that techno-epic as a Sam Worthington film? The mildly amiable Aussie is a stranger to star power, and putting him at the center of this picture is like building a fancy banquet around a main course of vanilla pudding.
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In any case, the character Worthington has been called upon to play would challenge many a more resourceful actor. Nick Cassidy is a disgraced New York City cop, framed for a high-profile jewel theft and consigned to Sing Sing for a very long stretch, who escapes his warders, returns to Manhattan, checks into a room on the twenty-first floor of a midtown hotel, climbs out the window, and then spends most of the rest of the movie huddled on the titular ledge, in what we at first take to be suicidal despair. This constrained situation offers little opportunity for physical or emotional expression, and it shines a cruel light on Worthington’s charisma deficit.
Still, there’s some snappy action going on all around him. The script, by Pablo F. Fenjves—a star-bio specialist whose literary credits include ghostwriting the reviled O.J. Simpson murder book If I Did It
—is a compendium of nicely tweaked genre clichés.
Read the full review at Reason.com