Friday, June 22, 2012

Man on a Ledge -- innocence regained

Director: Asger Leth, 2012. (PG-13)

First time director Asger Leth brings an interesting concept to the heist movie: put a man on a ledge to prove his innocence through means of the heist.

The movie starts off quickly with Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington, Avatar), checking into a New York City hotel, ordering a slap-up breakfast and then stepping out onto the ledge of his high-rise room. A would-be jumper, the cops are called in to shut the block down and bring him down. But he is more than the casual suicide. 

We learn from flashback that he is an ex-cop framed for a jewel theft and sentenced to 25 years in Sing Sing. When he is allowed out of prison for one day to attend his father’s funeral, he manages to escape, outrace several police cars and survive a car wreck that would leave most people dead or maimed.

He asks for police negotiator Lt. Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) to talk him down, but he wants to use her to help prove his innocence. He believes David Englander (Ed Harris, Apollo 13), a smooth wealthy real estate entrepreneur, set him up for the fall. Meanwhile his brother Joey (Jamie Bell) and out-of-his-league sexy girlfriend Angie (Genesis Rodrigues) are committing the heist in Englander’s building across the street.

Worthington is solid as the cop out to prove his innocence. His time on the foot of concrete that lies between him and 25 floors of dead air is suspenseful. As an acrophobiac, just thinking of his situation, especially when the camera panned downwards, left me sweating. But the plausibility of the overall concept ended up derailing the movie. There is simply too much that could not happen, from the opening of windows that would never open, to the twist at the end that wraps it up in oh so neat of a way. And the other actors are mostly wasted, with roles that are more caricature than real people.

At one point in the film, Cassidy tells Mercer he is ready to die. Later he asks her how far she would go to prove her innocence. These two interactions are probably the most meaningful in the whole film.

How far would we go to prove our innocence? Are we ready to die to achieve this?
Biblically, the Garden of Eden scene from Genesis 3 shows how we lost our innocence. When Adam and Eve chomped on the forbidden fruit, they fell from grace. Sin entered the world. We became guilty. We can no longer claim innocence before God. All stand guilty before him, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). 

But the second question is more crucial. Are we ready to die to regain innocence? Jesus paid it all for us. He took our place on the cross as a sacrifice of atonement for us (Rom. 3:25) that we might be forgiven. We can be justified through faith in Christ (Rom. 5:1). And “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). 

Yet such innocence regained comes at a personal price, as Jesus made clear: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). To take up the cross was to carry the means of death to your own execution. We must be ready to die to the old self so that we might live a new life, a life of innocence in Jesus Christ. Are you ready for this? 

If you are standing on a ledge today seeking to regain innocence, take a leap of faith into the arms of Jesus Christ. Not only will catch you, but he will give you what you always wanted: innocence, life, love.

Copyright ©2012, Martin Baggs

No comments:

Post a Comment