Sundance Review: The Ledge

Friday, January 21 by

The Ledge is a big misdirect. You think it’s going to be a standoff movie where a cop has to talk a jumper down. That’s really just the hook. It’s really a theological debate between an atheist and a homophobic zealot. I guess you can’t really lead with that.

Gavin (Charlie Hunnam) steps out onto the ledge of a roof. Hollis (Terrence Howard) is called to talk him down. Hollis just found out that he can’t donate sperm because he’s infertile. He has kids. So he’s got that going on. Gavin tells the story of what led him to the ledge.

Shana (Liv Tyler), Gavin’s new hotel employee also happens to be his neighbor. Gavin and his gay roommate Chris (Chris Gorham) invite the neighbors for dinner, and Shana’s husband Joe (Patrick Wilson) thinks they’re both gay and prays for God to help them correct their abominable choice. Now Gavin is not gay, but he still knows that’s wrong.

It’s interesting that the Sundance audience laughed at Joe’s comments. In a progressive audience, that sounds like humor because obviously we know his suggestions of homosexuality correcting programs are evil. I think most audiences will find it horrific. At least I hope they do.

Gavin engages in theological debates with Joe while trying to save Shana from such an oppressive man. I think it’s bold to make a movie so heavily centered on a hot button issue. I just don’t think it really explores it fully.

Joe takes the typical unwavering approach that the only salvation is being born again. Gavin’s all about evidence. I don’t think it’s either God exists or he doesn’t. Beliefs can enrich people’s lives and make them want to love. Joe’s beliefs make him hate. Where does that come from?

Narratively, I have a problem with the whole movie being a flashback. I know if you didn’t start on the ledge, it wouldn’t get juicy for about a half hour, but that’s the screenwriter’s problem to solve (same guy, writer/director Matthew Chapman.) This overdone crutch of the teaser opening informs way too much of the plot. Now nothing could happen that would prohibit Gavin from ending up on the ledge. It doesn’t take too much deduction to figure out which of the five characters is behind the plot and what Gavin’s choice will have to be.

It’s interesting that there are at least two films at Sundance with homophobic villains. That’s what Red State is about too, in a slasher movie format. I guess society has gotten to the point where artists want to tackle this head on. Everyone who protested Basic Instinct and Silence of the Lambs in the early ‘90s, here’s a movie where a raging heterosexual is the villain.

COMMENTS

  1. January 21, 2011 5:09 pm

    D-Rock

    Isn’t it nice to sit on the Ledge of a fence and critic this movie when you have no sense of the impressive simplicity and charter driven movie this is. No heavy score or over done color correction with tons of fancy camera moves. Its just acting that carries this movie. I can sit here and pick apart your critic of how you worded and tried to lead the reader to dislike your views, but that would make me a critic or basically someone who only views the movie with blinders on and doesn’t connect o to it. I feel bad that your job is to discredit and debunk movies. Sad!


  2. January 21, 2011 5:09 pm

    D-Rock

    Isn’t it nice to sit on the Ledge of a fence and critic this movie when you have no sense of the impressive simplicity and charter driven movie this is. No heavy score or over done color correction with tons of fancy camera moves. Its just acting that carries this movie. I can sit here and pick apart your critic of how you worded and tried to lead the reader to dislike your views, but that would make me a critic or basically someone who only views the movie with blinders on and doesn’t connect o to it. I feel bad that your job is to discredit and debunk movies. Sad!


  3. January 21, 2011 5:09 pm

    Reviewseeker

    Learn to spell, D-Rock. Then your opinions will seem slightly more credible–though not less simple-minded. (The word is “critique,” not “critic.”)


  4. January 21, 2011 5:09 pm

    Reviewseeker

    Learn to spell, D-Rock. Then your opinions will seem slightly more credible–though not less simple-minded. (The word is “critique,” not “critic.”)


  5. January 21, 2011 5:09 pm

    Reviewseeker

    Thanks for the review. You were unimpressed for many of the same reasons I read in another review. I’m on a tight budget, so it’s nice when my night-out movie experiences exceed expectations. I’ll wait for this one to show its face on DVD.


  6. January 21, 2011 5:09 pm

    Reviewseeker

    Thanks for the review. You were unimpressed for many of the same reasons I read in another review. I’m on a tight budget, so it’s nice when my night-out movie experiences exceed expectations. I’ll wait for this one to show its face on DVD.


  7. January 21, 2011 5:09 pm

    D-Rock

    Spelling is what makes a person credible. Good thing your not a judge or lawyer. At lease I saw the movie and met the director first before passing judgment reviewseeker (spelled incorrectly). LOL


  8. January 21, 2011 5:09 pm

    D-Rock

    Spelling is what makes a person credible. Good thing your not a judge or lawyer. At lease I saw the movie and met the director first before passing judgment reviewseeker (spelled incorrectly). LOL


  9. January 21, 2011 5:09 pm

    Helens_zone

    We have to meet the director before passing judgement? Most of us are screwed then…


  10. January 21, 2011 5:09 pm

    HelenUK

    Every critic is entitled to their opinion. That’s what a review is – it’s their opinion. You can take it or leave it. Which is why I always read as many reviews as I can before deciding to see a film, so I can gauge a general consensus rather than choosing a film based on one opinion. This critic has theirs. You have yours. No need for anyone to get confrontational about it! 


  11. January 21, 2011 5:09 pm

    D-Rock is Dumb

    “you’re”…. “least”

    Really… seriously… learn to spell.  We’re not kidding.