Today I'm going to do something a little different: a film review. Why, I hear you ask? Well, it's a film about which I had heard a lot and of which I had very high hopes, but sadly it did not meet these expectations.
"The Ledge" is a film written and directed by Matthew Chapman and features as its protagonist an atheist, which is how I came to hear about it. From what I had been told, the film dealt with secular morality, love, loss and good, old-fashioned debating. And it did. Sort of. It had lots of debating - he debated his gay flatmate about his desire to remain connected to the Jewish faith; he debated the fundamentalist Christian with whose wife he was trying to do the dirty; he even debated with the aforementioned wife. The problem was, these debates were the most inorganic conversations I have ever come across in a serious film: they were as artificial as American cheese and as nuanced as a Glenn Beck rally. Furthermore, some Christians have complained that the film used a caricature of a fundamentalist instead of presenting a realistic image of a devout believer; while part of me wants to tell them they're idiots and to get over it, they sort of have a point. While each individual action the character took was in isolation consistent with a fundamentalist Christian, the entire package felt somewhat...unrealistic. By the time the film had reached its dramatic climax (n.b. it wasn't very dramatic), I no longer cared what happened. It had become a bit silly.
My second objection was to the question posed by the fundamentalist to the atheist, "Would you die for your beliefs?", as if this were somehow a valid question. Yet (wait for it), the atheist actually said that he probably would. Quod the proverbial fuck? Life is far too precious to die for the lack of a belief in a deity, and to potentially throw it away for the sake of scoring a cheap point over a deranged lunatic seems a tad...irrational for someone who claims to be a bastion of logic and reason. So yes, that bit didn't ring true either.
To be fair, it was always going to be ground-breaking, and these things certainly take time. I credit Chapman for his idea, but the actual filmcraft left a lot to be desired.