You certainly can’t accuse the thriller Man on a Ledge of not delivering on its title: Pretty much right away, there’s the man (Nick Cassidy, played by Sam Worthington), and he’s standing on the ledge (on the side of a fancy New York City hotel), and he stays there for most of the movie. Even at one point when he comes off the ledge, he gets right back on it almost immediately. But Nick is never in any real danger of jumping from the ledge, since this isn’t a movie about a man considering suicide. It’s a sort of heist thriller, with Nick’s brother Joey (Jamie Bell) taking advantage of the whole man-on-a-ledge distraction to exact some elaborate revenge on the corrupt businessman (Ed Harris) who was responsible for Nick’s unjust imprisonment.
Man on a Ledge is best when it’s mysterious, but as the pieces fall into place, it becomes less interesting and more contrived, until finally losing all semblance of believability. Part of the problem is the weak cast, including the perpetually non-compelling Worthington, once again struggling to produce an American accent, and the generally appealing Elizabeth Banks, miscast as a hard-nosed police detective. Only Harris, chewing scenery as an evil industrialist, brings the campy energy that the movie needs. The unfolding conspiracy is rote and full of plot holes, and the filmmakers aren’t able to make the confining premise into anything other than a limp gimmick.