Seemingly desperate escaped felon Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington), has decided to take the high fall, after a good dinner at an expensive hotel.
Tasked with talking him down, is disgraced Police Psychologist Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks), still haunted by a recent failure to prevent a suicide attempt.
The Police are confused, they have been unable to find the jumpers identity, the room has been wiped for prints. The expectant New York crowd, “just jump already”, are enjoying the entertainment and the patience of the Police top brass is beginning to wear thin.
A great setup, where does the story go from here, we have two hours to fill.
Other characters are thinly sketched, the disappointed brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and his ridiculously hot girlfriend (Genesis Rodrigues). Nicks dependable ex-police partner (Anthony Mackie) and Cop Dante Marcos (Titus Welliver) who calls the shots from the ground and restrains the obligatory gung-ho SWAT team. Quite why they need assault weapons to try to stop a man committing suicide is uncertain, what are they going to do, shoot him as he falls to the ground?
The plot thickens, this is a Hollywood movie, we cannot spend the running time deciding and debating whether he will/will not jump, this is no character study. It is no plot spoiler to reveal that the suicide attempt is a charade, providing a distraction for another event, tied in with the reason Nick was incarcerated in the first place.
David Englander (Ed Harris) is the token bad guy, perhaps the budget would not stretch to a real in vogue English baddie, a similar name will have to do. In keeping with the times, he is not a villain as such, but a Wall Street, sharp suited, tower building egomaniac, albeit with less hair then perhaps other real life characters, allegedly.
The story starts well but one can imagine the pitch. A man on a building ready to jump and then the inspiration ran out. Then what, the studio executive would ask. Clearly more was needed, the escalating plot contrivances swiftly moving the film from ridiculous to preposterous, barely pausing for breath. The film ending on a crescendo of absurdities that would make even the most shameless of screenwriters blush.
Fair to say a diamond is involved and an airbag, together with specialized equipment and expertise that would be unavailable to the characters as depicted. Ed Harris looks uncomfortable in the role and the general acting for all the supporting characters is average at best. Worthing is bland and involving, although Banks makes the best attempt at some decent banter, with fellow detective Dougherty (Ed Burns) but that’s about it.
Full marks to Worthington who apparently completed the wide shots on a real ledge. A braver man than most for sure, whether secretly harnessed or not.
There are attempts at humour but the crime caper scenes appear to come from a different movie altogether. There is a bit of a twist but nothing to hold your breath for.
A film that perhaps cannot decide what it wants to be, crime caper, comedy, drama or event movie. Ultimately falling badly between all of these options. The direction is flat and uninvolved, the characters unreal and overall the film does not fully reward the time invested.
A good premise but ultimately a wasted opportunity. A weak thriller which becomes more preposterous with each plot contrivance.
Unless you really have to see everything featuring Sam Worthington, not essential viewing.