The Atheist Branded Movie ‘The Ledge’ is Released

I commented earlier on The Ledge, but now that it has been finally released it’s getting a couple of nods by the media. The move is by Matthew Chapman, the great great grandson of none other than Charles Darwin. He’s also a British citizen so when he came to the USA  he realized how much creationism is at war with evolution.

The film is in limited release and while the local Fox News article says it may be the “atheist Brokeback Mountain” I’m doubting it. We have a long ways to go before we see that kind of a breakthrough movie. But it is nice to see a film that is depicting a positive portrayal of an atheist. I know conservative Christians assume Hollywood is full of atheists, but if it is they sure don’t seem to include atheist characters in their productions (possibly for business reasons as atheism can be a death knell for marketing). Unlike the quote from Houston Atheists that films don’t ever show atheists in a positive light I’ve come across some rare ones. For example The Contender with Joan Allen has her character referred to as an atheist and she’s the main hero of the film (it’s not central to the plot, but I certainly took notice when it was mentioned).

We could also consider certain films to be like-minded with atheistic sentiments just as Christians can find like-minded films. What atheists are really looking for, though, are main characters where part of the character’s identity is atheistic. As with any group (even though we compare ourselves to “herding cats” because we’re so hard to organize) we want to see ourselves depicted on the big screen.

I have not had a chance to see The Ledge yet. It’s not available at a nearby theater in my area. Fox News says it may be available in your local market as an on-demand movie so check and see.

For plot and cast visit IMDB. It features two former superheroes, Patrick Wilson from Watchmen and Terrence Howard from Iron Man (well, he got replaced in Iron Man 2 so not quite superhero status). I am glad to see Patrick Wilson, though, Watchmen is one of my favorite films. Liv Tyler also appears and of course we know her from LOTR.

The plotline is simply: A police officer looks to talk down a young man lured by his lover’s husband to the ledge of a high rise, where he has one hour to contemplate a fateful decision.

SIDENOTE: Click on Patrick Wilson in IMDB and you’ll find a link to a not yet released film called The Book of Matthew. It appears to be another film atheists may enjoy. The description says: Post 9/11 New York, a man awakens from a seemingly futile existence as a former teacher leads him into the charismatic fellowship of a fundamentalist church.

3 thoughts on “The Atheist Branded Movie ‘The Ledge’ is Released

  1. Hello, but Lt. Ellen Ripley of the film “Aliens”, is atheist. It figures she is, considering the man who invented her, director-screenwriter James Cameron, is an outspoken atheist himself.

    Before you bash Hollywood like your Christian compatriots, please do a little homework. Some of us here take it as seriously when you make up shit about our industry as when fundies make up shit about how the universe began. Thanks.

  2. I hardly view what was written as “bashing” Hollywood. If that’s a bashing, can Hollywood handle real criticism? It was pretty evenhanded and I didn’t dismiss that there weren’t atheist characters, just that they were rare and I mentioned one known example “The Contender.” Woody Allen films contain a few as well.

    I also corrected a quote by another atheist group saying there were no good depictions and added that some movies may count with atheistic sentiments. What homework would I have to do to prove that atheist movies are rare compared to the entire output of Hollywood? Take the percentage of movies that don’t feature atheists versus the percentage that does? I didn’t make any shit up, I would say you misread and reacted. I was simply posting info on the The Ledge to get the word out.

    Atheist characters are growing if you include TV but they’re not on the same level as The Ledge which was a movie marketed towards the atheist community? http://www.squidoo.com/AtheistCharacters#module155704414
    And unless someone wants to prove different, there have been more religious based films made than atheist ones up to this point.

    Fact is, one of my biggest complaints is “Golden Compass” and how the atheist angle was played down and shied away from. See Wiki: “Before its release, the film received criticism from secularist organisations and fans of His Dark Materials for the dilution of the religious elements from the novels, as well as from some religious organisations for the source material’s anti-Catholic themes. The studio ordered significant changes late in post-production”. The studio was concerned about the bottomline. Don’t piss off too many Christians.

    So yes, I’m not too bad at my homework considering you gave Ripley as an example.

    You’ll have to explain more about Ellen Ripley being an atheist. I don’t remember any quotes in the movie and I couldn’t find any by doing a search. If she is, is it made obvious in the film? Otherwise who cares if Cameron is an atheist. Just because the author is an atheist doesn’t mean the character is and if the film doesn’t make that fact known, what good is it? Is there a quote of James Cameron stating Ripley is an atheist? I would still welcome it.

  3. The only reference I am aware of when it comes to Ellen Ripley and religion is in Alien 3, when one of the members of the prison colony asks her if she has any faith, she responds “not much.”

    Dillon: Do you have any faith, sister?
    Ripley: Not much.
    Dillon: Well, we’ve got a lot of faith here. Enough even for you. (Found on IMDB).

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