Film

Religion Bad, Atheism Good, Says Quasi-Thriller The Ledge

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Before being tasked with talking down a suicide jumper, police officer Terrence Howard learns that he has always been sterile—so whose kids has he been raising? It’s a hokey subplot meant to supplement the phony clock-ticking suspense on the titular overhang of The Ledge. It’s worth noting here that writer-director Matthew Chapman—whose screenwriting credits include Runaway Jury and Color of Night—is the great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin, as his melodramatic and convoluted thriller is merely a vehicle for airing his atheist grudges. Lazily framed as a long-form flashback, godless hotel manager Charlie Hunnam—the actual star of the show—recalls to the devout Catholic cop why he’s forced to stand two steps from doom: It’s that horrible born-again Christian (Patrick Wilson), oppressive husband to Liv Tyler’s sad college-student wife. When our troubled young nonbeliever falls for Liv, the neighborly love triangle turns into an ugly theological debate between good guy Charlie and Wilson’s gay-bashing, despicably self-righteous, utterly vindictive sociopath. Even if The Ledge couldn’t be written off as a hollow polemic, there’s also the lifeless drama, laughable dialogue, chintzy sets, and poor lighting to grapple with. Lord help us.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 6, 2011

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