Movies are show. Theater is tell.
But The Ledge, opening in limited release tomorrow (7/8/11) and currently available on VOD, is essentially a two-hander of a play inexpertly blown up into a movie. It's populated by famous faces and told with not nearly enough pace or drama, considering that it's meant to be something of a thriller about a guy about to jump off a ledge. Hence, the title.
The guy is Gavin (Charlie Hunnam) and the cop who's trying to talk him down is Hollis (Terrence Howard). And if this was being done in some little off-Broadway theater, that would be it.
But in this film by Matthew Chapman, who wrote and directed, when Gavin and Hollis tell each other their back story, we see it all. More's the pity.
Gavin's story is that he manages a hotel, a job he is overqualified for. He shares an apartment with a gay friend and lives down the hall from a new couple, Joe (Patrick Wilson) and Shana (Liv Tyler). He winds up giving Shana a job - and then having an affair with her.
The kicker is that Shana and her husband are both recovering addicts who have been born again. In fact, Joe "rescued" Shana and then married her. Gavin, as it turns out, has a painful history as well. So, for that matter, does Hollis, the cop.
But the writing here is so lifeless and schematic that even the attraction of Liv Tyler stripping down to get horizontal with Hunnam won't be enough to keep you watching - or it may keep you watching up to that scene. Nothing afterward will make you want to hang in there.
Which is too bad because Howard is a terrific actor who has somehow missed out on the kind of roles he should be getting. And Hunnam, of TV's Sons of Anarchy, is likable and believable, much more so than the trite claptrap he's forced to declaim here. For that matter, Wilson is a solid actor who is certainly credible as an angry guy whose faith isn't enough to make him turn the other cheek. Tyler has never been much of an actress; nothing new here.
As for The Ledge, you're better advised to put your time to more productive use.
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