The Ledge has some things going for it with two good performances and two others that are pretty much forgettable, but worse yet, the story doesn’t quite connect and even so, it’s so heavy handed and one-sided that it plays it too safe in making one character somewhat tolerable while the other has little redeemable value, though they try to give him a dramatic back story.
IFC | R – 101 min. – $29.98 | September 27, 2011
Directed by: Matthew Chapman
Writer(s): Matthew Chapman (written by)
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Terrence Howard
Theatrical Release Date: July 14, 2011
Features: Interviews, Theatrical Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 23.2 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
Plot: After embarking on a passionate affair with his evangelical neighbor’s wife (LIV TYLER), Gave (CHARLIE HUNNAM) soon finds himself in a battle of wills that will have life or death consequences. As a nonbeliever, Gavin is lured by his lover’s husband (PATRICK WILSON) to the ledge of a high rise and told he has one hour to make a choice between his life and the one he loves. Without faith in an afterlife, will he be able to make a decision? It’s up to Detective Hollis (TERRENCE HOWARD) to save both their lives, but the clock is ticking…
Writer-Director Matthew Chapman portends to be a theological drama-thriller but like anything coming out of Hollywood, there’s rarely a balance when it comes to religion. Here we get two characters with diverse points of view to say the least. One, Joe, is a fundamental Christian while the other, Gavin, is an atheist formed less about religions being illogical but based on a past incident that broke up a good life he was living.
My main issue is formed with Gavin and Joe where we get one extreme end of the scale with Joe who is a borderline psychopath and more of a moderate viewpoint with Gavin, though the message of having faith, or lack thereof, does take form as he stands on the ledge. Gavin is portrayed as a good guy, tolerant of others and their faiths (one scene finds him comforting a woman whose husband passed away) whereas Joe is absolutely intolerant of just about everything and it’s his way or a one way to hell. There’s no doubt there are many people like that out there but I think for this film to be honest, it would’ve been good to have both characters on equal ground on either end.
I should note here – and I often avoid any internal or personal things in these reviews – that I grew up in a Lutheran household though the church itself and my own family’s faith wasn’t overboard and we were more weekly attendees. I personally haven’t attended any service in many years, though I still believe in the existence of a higher power, I just don’t subscribe to a single sect.
But theology aside, taking The Ledge on a more technical level, it’s a good enough film with decent storytelling, even if it uses the old flashback routine I don’t care for, and some fine performances especially from Liv Tyler with Hunnam taking a close second while Wilson and Howard take distance last places, if only because neither are very memorable. In regards to Howard, who also served as co-executive producer, is similar to Daniel Craig. Stay with me here… Craig often is criticized for only having one, almost indifferent, expression no matter what role he’s in, well, Howard is the anti-Craig where there’s nothing but expressions from the man to the point where I’d like to see a subdued dramatic performance.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.5/5
Not much here, just some Q&A Interviews with Actor Charlie Hunnam (26:26), Actor Patrick Wilson (18:43), Writer/Director Matthew Chapman (19:40), Producers Mark Damon (28:45) and Producer Michael Mailer (12:00). Each one of these, save for maybe Wilson’s, is taken quite seriously with the interviewer taking inspiration from “Inside the Actor’s Studio” host James Lipton. Even so, these are fairly expansive with each person answering a variety of questions from their career to the movie itself.
Theatrical Trailer (2:06; HD)
There are also trailers for An Invisible Sign, Wrecked, The Trip and Buck.
VIDEO – 4.25/5
The Ledge is presented with a 1080p high-definition and 1.78 widescreen transfer. The film obviously is an independent venture and at times shows it (the first shot for instance looks overly bright and kind of off compared with the rest of the film). Colors don’t exactly pop off the screen but otherwise it’s a finely detailed transfer with a clean looking picture void of artifacting and other flaws.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track also isn’t phenomenal but gets the job done as the movie is primarily dialogue-driven with little to no action going on except for maybe some shouting, so it’s not an HD track that holds a lot of depth compared with others.
OVERALL – 3.0/5
Overall, The Ledge has some things going for it with two good performances and two others that are pretty much forgettable, but worse yet, the story doesn’t quite connect and even so, it’s so heavy handed and one-sided that it plays it too safe in making one character somewhat tolerable while the other has little redeemable value, though they try to give him a dramatic back story. When it comes to the Blu-ray, the audio and video transfers are both good while the features are lacking.