Hollis (Howard) is called into action when a man is literally on the verge of committing suicide. Gavin (Hunnam) is on the precipice of falling to an untimely (pun intended) demise. Hollis is the investigating detective charged with confronting the potential victim and mollifying him to the point where he will abandon the ledge and enjoy the safety of sure footing. He begins by questioning the jumper about his demons, his story, his rhyme and reasoning. Gavin confesses a story that is so intricate and riddled with passion and grief that we cannot help but to follow along in shear suspense.
The story begins when Gavin and his gay roommate (played by Christopher Gorham) are invited by their new neighbor for dinner on the same apartment floor. Shauna (Tyler) and her husband Joe (Wilson) are a peculiar couple. None of the characters' true selves are unveiled until the end so bear with some contradictions. Shauna is a student despite being somewhat older than the typical collegiate girl and has been employed by Joe's hotel as a sort of neighborly courtesy. Joe is a fundamentalist Christian devoted to his biblical studies and missionary style volunteering. It is clear they both have checkered pasts but just how jaded they are is initially a mystery. At dinner Joe insults both of his guests by telling them he will pray for their "abomination" against god. Apparently he believes both guests are homosexual lovers. In fact, Gavin is not only straight, he also feels attracted to Joe's wife. His strong condemnation out of the blue offends both guests and sends Gavin into full on revenge mode.
Gavin makes it his sole intention to seduce Shauna and since she is employed as a housemaid in the hotel he manages, their proximity makes his game immediately interesting. He continually suggests they should have ravaging sex and invites her to a variety of lunches, riverside walks, and roof top philosophizing sessions. He plays with fire and in return the proverbial (not literal) gates of hell shoot fireballs back at him. They eventually become sexually intimate and we are privy to Tyler's supple breasts and her legs wrapped around her lover in a heart-pounding, groaning orgasm. All of this occurs behind her husband's back despite what he has done for her. She used to be a wandering drug-addict without a hope for survival and recovery until Joe found her, helped her recover and loved her with all his heart. Unfortunately for him, he chose the wrong person to invest his trust in. She was easily seduced and seemed to crave the excitement of her old habits.
During this seemingly endless drama, Gavin falls in love with her despite his originally cruel intentions. Joe discovers her infidelity and places all three of the love-triangulated people (himself included of course) in an almost impossible situation. Gavin's rooftop suicidal urges are part of Joe's diabolical revenge scheme that will shock and dismay everybody. Detective Hollis is embroiled in his own personal challenges while speaking with Gavin. He found out earlier that day that he has always been sterile and that his children are his brother's and not his own. This crushes him and Gavin's actions will forever change his outlook on parenthood and on love.
The Ledge is a superb film who's praises I will sing like a soprano. Terrence Howard is always convincing and fantastic but he has outdone himself yet again. His true gift is that of cogent intensity on demand. Patrick Wilson normally plays the pretty boy modelesque boyfriend (except for in Insidious) but he portrays a fundamentalist to the point of convincing me he is one in real life. That is exactly what actors need to do, otherwise they are just lackeys and bustas like Bradley Cooper. Liv Tyler is a master of being the dual-personality woman riddled with mixed emotions. Finally, Charlie Hunnam reminds me of Chris Hemsworth only he can actually act! Hunnam is a relative unknown English actor, but his Oscar worthy performance here may well change the scope of his entire career. Ladies and gentlemen watch this film, it is worthy every nickel (normally quantified in pennies but inflation is inflation).
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