Sherlock). Most of these stories, with suicidal characters driven by personal or financial despair, almost always feature a cop or social worker trying to talk the person down. But what if the individual is not on that ledge of their own accord, but pressured to be there by a third party? What if they are told that they must jump by 12 noon – or someone else will die in their stead? Would you jump to save that person, or would self-interest kick in? Such is the premise of Matthew Chapman's intriguing 2011 movie The Ledge (not to be confused with Asger Leth's 2012 Man on a Ledge).
This is one of those films I picked up for $1 this past spring when my local Rogers' video store shutdown. (I had watched the trailer at the start of another movie and was intrigued by the premise.) The cast looked promising too, with Terrance Howard as the cop, Hollis Lucetti, trying to talk the guy down; and Liv Tyler as Shana Harris, the object of the jumper's affection. The jumper is Gavin Nichols, played by Charlie Hunnam, a British actor (doing American here – the film takes place in Baton Rouge, Louisiana) unknown to me though he is one of the main stars on FX's Sons of Anarchy. Patrick Wilson (A Gifted Man, Watchmen) as Joe Harris (Shana's cuckolded husband) is the one who made sure Nichols stood on that ledge. But let me rewind the story here (because that is what the picture does). It starts with Nichols stepping out on the ledge and a short time later Lucetti appears to try to talk him out of it. Lucetti has his own issues (he thinks his children are not his) which is established in a short prologue before Nichols takes his ledge stroll. Lucetti is also surprised at how casual Nichols is, not conforming to the usual attitude of the despair-filled would-be jumper. So he intuits that Nichols is not there of his own accord. Nichols soon cops to this, telling Lucetti that he has been told he must jump by noon or someone else dies (it is 10:30AM according to a large clock across the way). He then tells Lucetti his story.