Sam Worthington stars as a cop-turned-con-turned-fugitive in the convoluted heist flick <em>Man on a Ledge</em>.

Courtesy Photo

Sam Worthington stars as a cop-turned-con-turned-fugitive in the convoluted heist flick Man on a Ledge.

Man on a Ledge

Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, and Jamie Bell star in a film written by Pablo Fenjves and directed by Asger Leth.

When Rififi, the film Man on a Ledge tries so hard to emulate, debuted in 1955, it was promptly banned in numerous countries. This was in part because director Jules Dassin had run afoul of the House Un-American Activities Committee, but also because the central “heist” scene was so explicit, so ingeniously conceived, it was considered by police in many countries to be a handbook for crime. I don’t know how many suave, doomed crooks profited from seeing Rififi in the intervening years, but the film sure turned out to be a textbook for thieving screenwriters with just enough film school knowledge to misunderstand its riveting appeal. Many good heist movies, from Kubrick’s The Killing to Woody Allen’s Small Time Crooks owe it a debt, but Man on a Ledge should not be confused with one of those films. This version is just a clumsy crime.

Ledge tells the story of Nick (Sam Worthington), a cop in jail for the next 25 years. When we learn that his father has died and he’ll attend the funeral, and remember scenes we’ve already seen in the saturation preview ads splashed everywhere, it comes as no surprise that Nick soon shuffles off the bonds of incarceration and ends up there on the Roosevelt Hotel with cute officer Mercer (Elizabeth Banks).

Its best part is the improbable heist, mostly because there is funny chemistry between Nick’s brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodriguez), who risk life and jail time for reasons the movie fails to explain. The acting isn’t bad either; in fact, the cast manages to sell a number of dumb ideas. Instead, Ledge gets stupidly complicated with cops betraying cops, the great Ed Harris spouting evil-developer clichés, and a building jump that, if there was a fair judge of evil influences film makes on impressionable citizenry, probably should have been banned. By the time it happens, though, you’ll be ready to make the jump, too.

For showtimes, check the Independent's movie listings, here.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Montecito Pushes Back on Streamlined Rebuild Process

Not so fast with fast-track rebuilding, leaders tell the county

St. George Files Suit Against Gelb for Unpaid Debt

Pair of Isla Vista landlords in legal tussle over property sales costs.

Thousands of Plaintiffs Added to Refugio Oil Spill Case

Litigation follows footsteps of 1969 Union Oil spill attorneys.

Push Comes to Shove Between Law Enforcement and Mental Health

County supervisors confront too many needs with not enough money.

Helicopter Hits Electrical Wires, Starts Small Fire

A crop duster hit power lines in Ellwood Canyon.