The Ledge (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Matthew Chapman|
|Screenplay by||Matthew Chapman|
|Music by||Nathan Barr|
Being a movie that mix genres, The Ledge is part psychological drama, part philosophy debate, part thriller, and part love-story.
The movie opens with detective Hollis Lucetti (Terrence Howard) receiving the news from a doctor that he has been sterile his entire life. Upon reaching home, he questions his wife about who their children's father is. The film quickly switches to Gavin Nichols (Charlie Hunnam), an atheist, standing on a ledge as if to jump to his death. A small crowd forms below Gavin, and Hollis responds to the emergency. At first it looks like a regular suicide attempt. It is quickly revealed to be more complex than that, as Gavin explains to Hollis that he has no other choice than to jump, or somebody else will die.
The movie then recounts the story of the love triangle between Gavin, Shana (Liv Tyler) and Joe (Patrick Wilson). Shana is the new girl at the hotel where Gavin works. Joe is Shana's husband. He is also a fundamentalist Christian. Gavin despises Joe, considering him a close-minded bigot who is unworthy of Shana's love. Joe, on the other hand, assumes that Gavin must be a coward since he doesn't believe in an afterlife. Philosophy, beliefs, and ethics are shown to not be the real issues between the three of them, but rather deeper emotional problems.
- Charlie Hunnam as Gavin Nichols
- Patrick Wilson as Joe
- Liv Tyler as Shana
- Terrence Howard as Hollis Lucetti
- Christopher Gorham as Chris
Chapman, an atheist who identifies himself as a distant relative of Charles Darwin, wrote the character of Gavin Nichols to be the first openly atheist hero in a story about religious conflict. Chapman was able to recruit his desired actors starting with Hunnam and the film was shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in March 2010. The film premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. Shortly after its premiere, IFC paid just over $1 million to win the domestic rights to the film over three other bidders.
The film was primarily available on IFC's On Demand channel as it was given a very limited release in just 2 domestic theaters (making $9,216). The film did make $601,770 from foreign box office receipts. Upon its release, the film was attacked by Bill Donahue of the Catholic League, to whom Chapman responded directly. 
Critics' reviews for the film were mostly negative. The film received a "Fresh" rating from only 14% (four of twenty-nine) critics aggregated by Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics felt the film was too heavy-handed in its message and forced in its melodrama. Stephen Holden in The New York Times called The Ledge "the cinematic equivalent of what used to be called a problem play, in which the characters’ crises neatly mesh: in this case, neatly and preposterously." Holden, along with most other critics, was also critical of Tyler for "her usual blank, cow-eyed performance, pitching her voice more quietly than usual and adding a tinge of sadness" Wilson, and to a lesser degree Hunnam, were given some praise for working hard to give life to their mostly one-dimensional characters.
- New atheist movie 'The Ledge' evangelizes godlessness
- My Interview with Writer/Director Matthew Chapman
- Terrence Howard Walks ‘The Ledge’
- "Sundance Film Festival 2011 : The Ledge". Sundance.Slated.com. Retrieved January 22, 2011.
- SUNDANCE EXCLUSIVE: IFC Picks Up Liv Tyler Thriller 'The Ledge'
- Bill Donohue and the Catholic League Attack Matthew Chapman's New Atheist Film, "The Ledge"
- Looking for Answers Before He Leaps
- Review: ‘The Ledge’