Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Ledge

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Or we can do whatever you want to do...just don't jump...or, at the very least, do a flip when you do it.

The Ledge – 3 out of 5

The ledge…the place I usually find myself when I realize that the restaurant I’m in only has Coke and not Pepsi products. Of course I’m kidding (I’m not) but the ledge in this case is a 2011 drama starring the lead actor from Sons of Anarchy.

"Boy, I sure do love SUBWAY and their cost efficient five dollar footlongs." 

The Ledge tells the story of Gavin (Charlie Hunnam); a young professional man who one day ends up on the ledge of a building. When the police arrive, he informs Det. Hollis Lucetti (Terrence Howard)—who is already having a bad day when he finds out that he’s sterile and the kids he’s been a father to all these years aren’t even his—that he must remain on the ledge until noon and then he must jump or something bad will happen. When Hollis pushes Gavin for information he starts to tell him about an affair between himself and a married woman (Liv Tyler) and the tension between himself (an atheist) and the woman’s extremely devote husband Joe (Patrick Wilson).

So you make sure the Subway is clearly in shot but you won't let the Apple
logo be shot.  Who's behind this movie?  Jared?

Short review for The Ledge is that it’s okay. Longer review; it’s okay but it has some major problems that hold the film back from being something better.

"No Pepsi?!?  That's it, I'm jumping!"

I really liked the story of the film even though, on paper, the concept seems a little familiar. We’ve seen movies where a man has something held over his head and is placed in a dangerous situation where he could die or cause injury or death to another so there’s nothing really fresh going on here but these stories are ripe with easy tension and basic storytelling so it has that going for it. However, the problem that came with this film is the fact that the acting is pretty uneven, some characters aren’t given the share they deserve in the story and some other minor hiccups in the film’s events.

"Hey before you jump, I'm going to run to Starbucks.  You want anything?
No, they also only have Coke products"

One of the things that hurt the film was the fact that Gavin, a man who is telling Joe about the inherit hypocrisy within his beliefs, is seducing the man’s wife. It’s hard to really care for this character and the drama he’s going through when you realize that he got there by being underhanded and basically just as bad as the dude who thinks you can pray away the gay. Things only get worse when you see how easily Liv Tyler’s character decides to cheat on her husband and “sees” the light of Gavin’s way. How does the atheist character of Gavin give Shana a religious experience? I wish I was kidding but I’m not. He goes down on her and gives her an orgasm and suddenly she is ready to renounce her faithful ways. If only it was that easy to make someone turn their back on religion because if it was, every woman I’ve ever been with would join me in my atheism (that's right, I'm a good lover!).

"A great turkey sandwich is what made me become a Born Again..."

So, it’s a little silly that getting a little action below the waistline makes Shana decide that her husband’s beliefs are crazy (granted, the character of Shana never really renounces her faith but that orgasm sure helped get her on a path that could lead to that) but there’s still some decent dramatic tension going on in the film as Gavin retells the tale to Det. Lucetti.

One of the hardest things to watch about this film is the fact that the acting can be bad, passable and sometimes extremely good. Liv Tyler’s performance isn’t anything special yet never outright terrible either but Charlie Hunnam, whom I’ve only seen in SOA so far, jumps back and forth on the scale of acting. At times, he comes off great (like when he’s on the ledge telling his story) and other times his performance feels forced and unnatural; like when he’s shown as the manager at his hotel he operates and is being overly friendly with his staff. His performance in these sequences makes him look like an alien in a human suit or a robot with only half his programming trying to mimic friendly behavior rather looking like an actual person being friendly. It becomes a major distraction in the film.

"This is how humans smile right?"

Happens to me every time I cut onions too man.
They say some really mean things when you cut them.
 However, there are some great performances in this one. Patrick Wilson and Terrence Howard (especially Howard) are tremendous in this film but are barely given enough screen time to really show off their skill. Patrick Wilson’s character plays a major role in the film’s narrative but barely has any scenes as the movie becomes more preoccupied with showing more and longer sex scenes between Tyler and Hunnam (and that itself takes away from the story when you remember most of what is being told to you is a flashback from a man on a ledge—by the time when the sex scenes are done and it comes back to the ledge I found myself saying, “Oh yeah, he’s telling a story”).

I bet he has a Christian rock band called Stone of Truth or His Glory or
some bullshit like.  Doesn't stop him from fumbling his way through "Stairway
to Heaven" though.

"I was suppose to be War Machine--ME!"
 Then you have Terrence Howard really killing it as the Detective sent to try and talk Gavin off the ledge. His scenes are very, VERY limited but he gives them his all. His character is even given some major dramatic elements that can be feed into the story in the form of him having to learn that he’s sterile and the children he thought were his are someone else’s while he’s trying to understand Gavin’s problems and talk him into NOT jumping when, in reality, he would probably want to join him on the freefall that would take him permanently out of his troubles. Tragically, Det. Lucetti’s story becomes more tacked on and is thrown in a little here and there and used mostly for a bittersweet wrap up in the end after the film takes a very unhappy ending.

"Dammit, he's mooning us."

This actually brings me to what I enjoyed the most: the ending. I admire the film for willingly going away from the cliché “the sun will shine brightest tomorrow” happy ending and went for a more realistic downer ending. I’m not saying I’m a hugely depressed person who thinks the world is dark and I’m just a jaded man who loves depressing endings (I am and I do) but sometimes it’s nice to see a film throw a curve ball at you. I won’t give away the ending but it doesn’t end how you predict it will; how we have been conditioned to believe story’s should end.

"I know I should come back in but the wind blown look is really working for me."

The Ledge isn’t a great film but it wasn’t terrible either. There were issues with the story and plot getting messy and some of the acting can be distracting but never painfully so. However, the story was fairly decent and easy to watch, Terrence Howard is just awesome in it and the ending was a bit of a surprise and all these thrown together made the film mildly entertaining and worth a single-shot viewing.

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