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Man on a ledge (Leth, 2012)

A convicted felon threatens to commit suicide by jumping off a high building. While a detective tries to talk him out of it, his real motives emerge.

Unfortunately, I didn't manage to connect with this film - it is a solid action/thriller/heist mix, but for me the characters weren't very deep. Cinematography, editing and music were all well done, and the visual language appropriate for such a film.

Some random thoughts of mine:

The protagonist Nick and his ex-police partner Mike have an ambiguous relationship. At one point it's clear that Nick doesn't trust Mike anymore. His back story is credible, because he actually presents his wife to Nick, giving him a reason to abandon his co-worker for his family. This is also the core moral of the movie: "Don't trust anybody but family"

Detective Mercer's back story is dropped in hints and bits by Nick and her co-workers. This lead to a long bunch of exposition during the first part of the movie, when she talks to Nick on the ledge. And her alleged problem being a woman in the police force feels fabricated. Except for Edward Burns few snide remarks, everybody seems to let her do her job. Loads of outdated cliches here, with sleeping pills, the phone call "come here right now", etc.

In terms of plot there was an unbalanced amount of very well though-out heist plans and pretty naive crowbar methods in the steps of Nick's action. At one point there is a "Mission: Impossible" type of floating above the air, but actually far more realistic and even funnier, and in the next moment we have a horrible "cut the red wire" cliche. These kind of things kill tension immediately. I wonder why this was left in the script.

I also felt very uneasy about the ending. It seemed like the whole thing was built around the idea that the guy should "jump" off the building. Sounds like somebody in a meeting said: "If we see a guy standing on a ledge for hours AND we paid good money at the box office, he should jump, no?" - And as I've learned myself from countless meetings: It's the BAD ideas that are the hardest to kill.




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