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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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Martha: Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus were evidently close friends of Jesus. He came to their home simply as a welcomed guest, rather than as one celebrating the conversion of a sinner like Zacchaeus or one unceremoniously received by a suspicious Pharisee. The sisters feel free to call on Jesus at their brother’s death, even though a return to Judea at that time seems almost certain death. 
<p>No doubt Martha was an active sort of person. On one occasion (see Luke 10:38-42) she prepares the meal for Jesus and possibly his fellow guests and forthrightly states the obvious: All hands should pitch in to help with the dinner. </p><p>Yet, as biblical scholar Father John McKenzie points out, she need not be rated as an “unrecollected activist.” The evangelist is emphasizing what our Lord said on several occasions about the primacy of the spiritual: “...[D]o not worry about your life, what you will eat [or drink], or about your body, what you will wear…. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:25b, 33a); “One does not live by bread alone” (Luke 4:4b); “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” (Matthew 5:6a). </p><p>Martha’s great glory is her simple and strong statement of faith in Jesus after her brother’s death. “Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world’” (John 11:25-27).</p> American Catholic Blog One of the difficulties we may have when our lives become unmanageable is that we find dealing with other people to be difficult and we may even struggle to maintain a relationship with God. Caring people especially can find themselves carrying unnecessary crosses as they become lost in the maze of trying to meet everyone’s crazy expectations—including their own!

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