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Film / Man on a Ledge

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How far would you go to prove your innocence?

Ex-cop Nick Cassidy was sent to jail, convicted of stealing, and destroying, a $40-million diamond from David Englander. He has just escaped from prison to embark on a daring heist: to stand in plain sight, while the crime he was convicted of is committed, and in so doing prove his innocence. He is willing to go as far as he needs to—in this case, to a ledge on the Roosevelt Hotel, 31 stories up.

Man on a Ledge is a 2012 thriller film directed by Asger Leth, starring Sam Worthington, Jamie Bell, Elizabeth Banks and Ed Harris.


Man on a Ledge contains the following tropes:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Lots. In the real world, a person will need to spend at least some time in the courtroom to clear their name. Also, a lot of actions taken by the characters would likely get them shot by police.
    • Though the point of "Being on the Ledge" is that the whole thing is being filmed by the local news, and a lot of police don't want to be on camera doing the shooting. Also, the film outright notes the New York governor issued a pardon - cutting through a lot of court time and red tape.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Several. The last one comes with a side order of Claustrophobia for poor Angie.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Angie swears in Spanish twice.
  • Broken Bird: Detective Mercer is haunted by memories of a fellow cop whose suicide she couldn't prevent.
  • Camera Spoofing: Of the "Polaroid Punk" variety. Subverted in that the guards never catch on.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The air bag that is placed down near the beginning of the movie, when the police think he's a potential suicide.
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  • Clear My Name: Nick has to orchestrate a theft to do so, otherwise he will be in Sing Sing Prison for the rest of his life.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: David Englander. The man is big on apparently charitable and gentrifying work, but like many other people, the real estate bubble burst hurt his wallet a bit... good thing he's got an insurance policy for a multi-million-dollar diamond that he can defraud... and a man he can make a patsy... and plenty of connections in the police that can help him set it up.
  • Dirty Cop: Several of them; part of the plot is figuring out who they are.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: There is a man. He is on a ledge for much of the movie.
  • Faking the Dead: Nick's father. The funeral is when Nick pulls off his Great Escape and the man pretends to be Roosevelt Hotel personnel to help him afterwards.
  • Great Escape: Nick at the ending of the How We Got Here flashback on the first act, during his father's funeral.
  • The Heist: The attempt to steal the diamond from Englander to show he got it, with the titular suicide attempt being a distraction.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Kind of. More proving a man's innocence than an actual redistribution of wealth.
  • Leap of Faith: Near the end, Nick takes a running leap off the ledge... and lands safely on the air bag the police put out an hour of movie-time ago.
  • Logo Joke: The Summit Entertainmentlogo has a background of New York skyscrapers on it, seen here.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Angie...lots of close ups of T&A.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Sam Worthington's character is perhaps the only New York cop with an Australian accent.
  • Police Brutality: Officer Marcus assaults Joey while he is handcuffed.
  • The Precarious Ledge: The film is pretty much built around this trope. The Protagonist spends a great deal of time standing on the ledge of a building over a city.
  • Precision F-Strike
    Mercer: I know Cassidy's not on this ledge to say goodbye.
    Dougherty: Yeah? What's he saying?
    Mercer: "Fuck you."
  • Primal Fear: Definitely the Heights and Falling sort. See also Air-Vent Passageway.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: Winners and losers. Guess which one Englander thinks he's in?
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: David Englander. The man's benefit work is just so he can show off he's got money to toss away... and when he's feeling a little low, he's got no problem arranging a big fraud and putting a man in prison for life.
  • Spicy Latina: Angie. She drops a few Spanish insults at the bad guys.
  • Smug Snake: David Englander, all over. When he walks away thinking he's going to become a Karma Houdini at the finale, he actually stops for a moment to blow a big kiss at Nick.
  • Title Drop: Delivered by the NYPD desk sergeant.
    "We need an emergency service unit at The Roosevelt, 45th and Madison. Shut down the block, we got a man on a ledge."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Did Mike survive being shot near the end?


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