Thursday, December 29, 2011
Writer/director Matthew Chapman hasn't made a film in nearly 20 years, but he was so passionate about this script that he new it had to be made. He wrote the script for "The Ledge" with the specific cast in mind and it took a couple years to get Terrence Howard, Patrick Wilson and Liv Tyler to all be available at the same time. The film is an exploration of the psyche under duress and at the same time is a beautiful love story and a tense compelling thriller.
The story begins with a lot of foreshadowing as Gavin’s (Charlie Hunnam) and Shana (Liv Tyler) share a bus to work. At work Gavin has a flirtatious conversation with a co-worker about if an object that is sacred to you can give you an emotional attachment and if a religious experience can transform the object into something sacred. It is the objectification of Shana by her husband Joe (Patrick Wilson) that builds the tension in the film and draws out the emotion.
The film plays on multiple levels of religious faith and agnostic belief with Joe and Gavin taking the polar opposite views and even having an philosophical debate during the film. Gavin believes that once you realize the life is finite you don’t want to waste a moment of it. Joes believes that he is able to be totally without fear and has the courage to die for his beliefs because he believes that he knows where he is going after death. Gavin might possibly have the most faith in the face of human nature as he is willing to give up his life for that faith. He shows that it is possible to be good without having any faith through the simple rule of “do undo others as you would want done upon you”.
Patrick Wilson was good in "Insidious", wasn't at his best with "Young Adult", but showed his range with his performance in "The Ledge". When he says "if I say I'm gonna do something, you better believe I will" just sends chills down your back.
The film asks the question what would you do in this extreme situation. Would you have the faith to take a life for the one you love, sacrifice another life for your own, and ultimately forgiveness of those that you love. With such a heavy hand being used with religion the film can be difficult for some. However, the performances in the film stand above the themes and carry it to a 3 Quack rating.