Friday, July 08, 2011
Just Jump, Dude: The Ledge
The Ledge begins with a dude on a ledge and the sooner he jumps, the better. This is Gavin Nichols, the aggressively atheist hotel manager, who decided to seduce one of his maids (evidently, because he lacks the sense of moral responsibility that comes with a belief in a higher power). To sweeten the pot, the lovely but mousy Shana is married to Joe, an emotionally abusive Evangelical, who fancies himself a specialist at converting non-believers like Nichols.
Naturally, Nichols and his sexually harassed employee fall for each other, which pushes Christian Joe over the edge, so to speak. In violation of all Christian principles, he takes Shana hostage, issuing Nichols a grim ultimatum: kill thyself by the appointed hour or Shana’s death will be on your head. At this point, dumb copper Hollis Lucetti wanders onto the ledge, so we can watch Nichols’ stilted story in flashbacks.
Reportedly, Chapman has described The Ledge as his attempt to make an atheist Brokeback Mountain. However, Ang Lee’s film had genuine artistic merit regardless of how one feels about gay rights. Frankly, The Ledge is not even a cheesy atheist Liberace: Behind the Music. His screenplay has all the ferocity and insight of a high school convert to atheism. Nichols’ arguments consists entirely of “where’s your proof” taunts. Frankly, despite Chapman’s transparent efforts to rig the game in his favor, poor Joe nearly gets the better of him.
Chapman’s cast does not do him any favors either. As Nichols, Charlie Hunnam looks like a surfer and sounds like a used car salesman. It is impossible to believe he could talk a two dollar prostitute into bed with a twenty dollar bill, let alone a married woman, no matter how lame her husband might be. Visibly embarrassed, Liv Tyler basically sleepwalks through each of Shana’s scenes, hoping to wake up from this career nightmare.
IFC Center, while God laughs.