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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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Martyrdom of John the Baptist: The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life? 
<p>This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation or repentance, of salvation.</p> American Catholic Blog Those who pray learn to favor and prefer God’s judgment over that of human beings. God always outdoes us in generosity and in receptivity. God is always more loving than the person who has loved you the most!

 
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