Man on a Ledge (12A)

Starring: Jamie Bell, Sam Worthington, Ed Harris

A high-rise thriller that aims low, Man on a Ledge asks us not so much to suspend our disbelief as string it up, set it on fire and pee on the remains.

Sam Worthington plays ex-cop Nick Cassidy, who's been framed for a robbery and banged up for 25 years. Out on a day's leave for his dad's funeral, he makes a dramatic escape from his escorts. Next thing he's standing high on the ledge of a midtown Manhattan hotel, threatening to jump. Director Asger Leth reminds us of the peril with vertiginous crane shots, though his hands are full managing parallel plots about a "daring" (ie. unbelievable) jewel heist and a billionaire sleazeball (Ed Harris) who landed Nick in it originally. Elizabeth Banks, having barely survived the egregious twists of The Next Three Days with Russell Crowe, takes another flyer as a police negotiator charged with talking our man off the ledge – and failing to notice that he's a) an ex-cop and b) whispering into an earpiece.

 

Worthington, no stranger to the fantastical (Avatar), has a more obvious problem hiding his Aussie roots; every time the tension climbs his accent goes Down Under. But that's small beer next to the multiplying absurdities of the story, devised by the writer Pablo F Fenjves. He should take a running jump.

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