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Man on a Ledge (Blu-ray Review)

19 May, 2012 By: John Latchem

Street 5/29/12
Box Office $18.62 million
$26.99 DVD, $30.49 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence and brief strong language.
Stars Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Edward Burns, Titus Welliver, Genesis Rodriguez, Kyra Sedgwick, Ed Harris.

In the first few minutes of Man on a Ledge, Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) wanders into Manhattan’s Roosevelt Hotel, takes a room on the 21st floor and climbs out the window, causing a stir on the streets below.

Flashbacks begin to fill us in about his intentions. A month earlier, he escaped from prison after being told he has exhausted his appeals, but insists he’s innocent. He tells the negotiators who arrive to talk him down that he won’t jump if they bring in a disgraced cop named Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), who weeks earlier failed to save a jumper at the Brooklyn Bridge.

In the meantime, Nick’s brother, Joey (Jamie Bell), and Joey’s smoking hot girlfriend, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), find themselves sneaking around the office building of a wealthy developer (Ed Harris employing a one-note sneer so you know he’s meant to be the villain) on the day he announces plans to build a new high-rise. 

All the threads are connected, obviously, and the film takes delight in layering on new revelations that keep viewers guessing as to everyone’s true allegiances. It’s a well-worn gimmick to build interest in the plot, and it works for the most part, even if some of the resolutions strain credibility. 

The script was written by Pablo F. Fenjves, a screenwriter better known as the Nicole Brown Simpson neighbor who heard her dog barking the night she was murdered, and later supposedly was the ghostwriter for O.J. Simpson’s book If I Did It. Perhaps some of the questions about guilt and innocence from that infamous case made their way into the character of Nick.

The Blu-ray is sparse on extras, though it does include an eyebrow-raiser in the form of the film’s trailer with audio commentary from Elizabeth Banks. The curio factor stems not just from the notion of a trailer commentary, but also the fact that the unaltered trailer hasn’t been included.

The other extra is a 15-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that provides an interesting look at how the filmmakers shot the ledge sequences using a combination of soundstages, CG set extensions and building a portable set on top of the actual Roosevelt Hotel in New York. So in some of those scenes, Worthington is actually standing on a ledge 21 stories above the street. It’s not as ballsy as, say, pushing Tom Cruise out a window 100 floors up on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

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