It’s very difficult to make an objective and engaging movie about religion but The Ledge pulled it off. This is a very suspenseful movie with a man climbing onto the ledge of a building within the first five minutes. At the same time, another man gets some pretty devastating and life-changing news. As you can probably guess, we go back in time to find out what the fuck happened. And as soon as scenes start to get boring, we switch back to the present. A neat little trick to keep the momentum of the story going.
The cast of The Ledge did a terrific job and made a bit preachy script more digestible. Actually, the dialogue isn’t that bad but the character development was pretty blunt. The bad guy is just another lunatic bad guy we couldn’t possibly relate to. And the good guy is your regular cool guy. However, I did end up hating every character in this fucking movie apart from Gavin’s roommate Chris. This just shows you how good were our four leads.
I think that it is important to demystify religion and the movies are a perfect vessel for this. We have hundreds of movies in which god is portrayed as the good guy that actually exists but we are without almost any movies that are, for the lack of a better term, atheistic. And I don’t mean some debauchery or enjoyment (religion painted that vibe (did someone say projecting?)) and metaphors but flat out atheistic, no god, no nothing. The Ledge is here to fill the gap.
Gavin Nichols is just a regular atheist guy who enjoys ordinary things: alcohol, women, and good times. Plus he’s really hot. Living with his gay friend in an apartment building, he works as a manager at the local hotel, living an ordinary life. But when a married couple moves into their building, Gavin starts to have feelings for the neighbor’s beautiful wife. The next thing we know, Gavin is on top of the building, getting ready to jump when a police officer shows up to talk him out of it…
You might say that I’m a bit partial when it comes to The Ledge because I’m also an atheist. But I would like to point out that there are almost no big movies like this. Movies where the lead openly doesn’t believe in god and gets into conflict with a religious person. You can feel that they were going for that sweet and juicy interlocking stories vibe with the plot. And while at times it will come off as contrived and pretentious, it’s still thought-provoking. If you want the real stuff, I guess you’ll have to rewatch The Man From The Earth.
I also admire their bravery to just go for it without any comedic undertones or anything like that. This was the golden standard for many great movies that tried to defuse the situation with humor. I can list Leap of Faith, Dogma, Salvation Boulevard, or immortal Life of Brian. Finally, they didn’t fuck up the ending, which was really important and this is why I think you should check out The Ledge.
Director: Matthew Chapman
Writer: Matthew Chapman
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Terrence Howard, Liv Tyler, Patrick Wilson, Jaqueline Fleming, Christopher Gorham
Fun Facts: The film was shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.