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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Man on a Ledge

By
Adam Shaw
Source: Catholic News Service


Sam Worthington is pushed to the limit in the thriller "Man on a Ledge."
When an ex-cop is falsely convicted of stealing a multimillion-dollar diamond and sentenced to 25 years in jail, there's just one course for him to follow: Break out of prison, check in to Manhattan's landmark Roosevelt Hotel, order lobster—then clamber out onto a cornice hundreds of feet above street level.

Such, apparently, is the logic of Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), the protagonist of the tedious thriller "Man on a Ledge" (Summit).

Sent up the river for stealing the fabulously valuable Monarch Diamond from morally stained, cigar-smoking moneybags David Englander (Ed Harris), Nick settles on a convoluted plan to vindicate his innocence. While he distracts a crowd of New Yorkers from his high-story perch, his brother, Joey (Jamie Bell), and Joey's girlfriend, Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), will crack open Englander's vault and prove that the putatively purloined jewel is still in situ.

Worthington's character is thus left in the bizarre—and soon tiresome—circumstance of spending over half the movie cavorting on that precipice, whence disgraced police negotiator Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) tries to coo him down.

Mercer is supposedly depressed at her recent failure to prevent a fellow cop from hurling himself to his death. But her habitual growls and grunts come across as little more than crabbiness.

The movie as a whole aims for cynical edginess, with results as unconvincing as they are unpleasant. Screenwriter Pablo F. Fenjves infuses his risibly bad dialogue with an unusually high amount of profanity. These assaults on the Lord's name reach a crescendo in a scene where the Second Commandment is violated a trio of times in less than 30 seconds.

So feebly cardboard are the perpetrators of this verbal sacrilege, though, that they are more likely to rouse impatience than ire.

Along with would-be remorse maven Mercer, there's stereotypically hard-edged Latina Angie. She pouts a lot and, so we're told, used to burgle houses during what was presumably a challenging youth spent on the mean streets of Anybarrio, U.S.A.

What Angie lacks in depth she makes up for on the surface by serving as all-too-obvious eye candy. When the break-in requires her to shimmy down a vent, she prepares herself by undressing down to her frilly unmentionables (seen in close-up, of course) and squeezes herself into a skintight, Catwomanesque one-piece.

Director Asger Leth's wronged-innocence caper piles conspiracy on top of collusion with dull consequences.

The one flicker of light comes from that stogy of Englander's as Harris illumines the screen whenever he's on it. Unfortunately, his appearances are far too short to prevent "Man on a Ledge" from taking a suicide leap into the depths of mediocrity.

The film contains occasional action violence, an implied premarital situation, much profanity, at least two uses of the F-word and considerable crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13—parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

*****
Adam Shaw is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.



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Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi: Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint." 
<p>She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there. </p><p>Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths. </p><p>As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, <i>Admonitions</i>, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious. </p><p>The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people. </p><p>It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us never tire, therefore, of seeking the Lord—of letting ourselves be sought by him—of tending over our relationship with him in silence and prayerful listening. Let us keep our gaze fixed on him, the center of time and history; let us make room for his presence within us.

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