Take a leap of faith into fundamentalism.
Article first published as Sundance 2011 Film Review: The Ledge on Blogcritics.
There were at least two extreme fundamentalist films at the Sundance Film Festival this year and this is the one I happened to see (Kevin Smith’s “Red State” being the other). Writer/director Matthew Chapman has thrown together both sides of the fence pitting an atheist (Charlie Hunnam), a self-righteous Christian (Patrick Wilson) and a cop (Terrence Howard) in a deadly love triangle putting at least one character out on “The Ledge.”
Gavin (Hunnam) wakes up and leaves for work bumping into his new neighbors, Joe and Shauna (Wilson and Liv Tyler). Gavin is immediately smitten by the beautiful Shauna on a bus ride to work and it just so happens she walks in applying for a job at the hotel he manages. Shauna’s hiring leads Joe into inviting Gavin and his mistaken-for-lover roommate (Christopher Gorham) over for dinner. After an evening or two of butting religious heads, eventually Gavin and Shauna start up an affair. Soon enough, Joe finds out about the two (even so much as listening to them bump ugly on Gavin’s kitchen counter) and now it’s up to God, err… Joe, to proposition Gavin with an offer he can’t refuse all in the name of love.
While Chapman never truly make his religious intent known it was nice to hear both sides of the argument for a change. Unfortunately, somehow the subplot of Howard’s character learning he’s been sterile from birth, yet has two children with his wife (Jaqueline Fleming), that overpowers the main story and the dénouement leaves things emotionally unfulfilled. The performances would all be great if Wilson could learn to be as good at playing intimidating as he is at just being creepy and had Chapman allowed his fellow Brit (Hunnam) to use his natural accent, Gavin would have fared far better and not lost the focus of his own tragic story. All in all, “The Ledge” is still highly worth checking out whenever IFC Films releases it whether in theaters or straight to video.
Photo courtesy IFC Films