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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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Monica: The circumstances of St. Monica’s life could have made her a nagging wife, a bitter daughter-in-law and a despairing parent, yet she did not give way to any of these temptations. Although she was a Christian, her parents gave her in marriage to a pagan, Patricius, who lived in her hometown of Tagaste in North Africa. Patricius had some redeeming features, but he had a violent temper and was licentious. Monica also had to bear with a cantankerous mother-in-law who lived in her home. Patricius criticized his wife because of her charity and piety, but always respected her. Monica’s prayers and example finally won her husband and mother-in-law to Christianity. Her husband died in 371, one year after his baptism. 
<p>Monica had at least three children who survived infancy. The oldest, Augustine (August 28) , is the most famous. At the time of his father’s death, Augustine was 17 and a rhetoric student in Carthage. Monica was distressed to learn that her son had accepted the Manichean heresy (all flesh is evil)  and was living an immoral life. For a while, she refused to let him eat or sleep in her house. Then one night she had a vision that assured her Augustine would return to the faith. From that time on, she stayed close to her son, praying and fasting for him. In fact, she often stayed much closer than Augustine wanted. </p><p>When he was 29, Augustine decided to go to Rome to teach rhetoric. Monica was determined to go along. One night he told his mother that he was going to the dock to say goodbye to a friend. Instead, he set sail for Rome. Monica was heartbroken when she learned of Augustine’s trick, but she still followed him. She arrived in Rome only to find that he had left for Milan. Although travel was difficult, Monica pursued him to Milan. </p><p>In Milan, Augustine came under the influence of the bishop, St. Ambrose, who also became Monica’s spiritual director. She accepted his advice in everything and had the humility to give up some practices that had become second nature to her (see Quote, below). Monica became a leader of the devout women in Milan as she had been in Tagaste. </p><p>She continued her prayers for Augustine during his years of instruction. At Easter, 387, St. Ambrose baptized Augustine and several of his friends. Soon after, his party left for Africa. Although no one else was aware of it, Monica knew her life was near the end. She told Augustine, “Son, nothing in this world now affords me delight. I do not know what there is now left for me to do or why I am still here, all my hopes in this world being now fulfilled.” She became ill shortly after and suffered severely for nine days before her death. </p><p>Almost all we know about St. Monica is in the writings of St. Augustine, especially his <i>Confessions</i>.</p> American Catholic Blog The Church really is my mother, too. She isn’t a vague maternal force for a generic collection of anonymous people. This Mother truly nurtures us—each one of us. And for those of us who are baptized Christians, the Church has actually given birth to us on a spiritual level.

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