Cinema: Free Fall

Vertical Limit begins with a bang but drops off fast

It starts out great: a father and his two grown children, Peter (Chris O'Donnell) and Annie (Robin Tunney), are on a practice climb in what appears to be Monument Valley. An accident occurs, and the three of them are dangling from a rope that can only hold two. Someone has to be cut loose. This turns out to be the father, and it is his son who wields the knife that sends him into deadly free fall.

All right, the sequence is a cliche. But it is well executed by director Martin Campbell (The Mark of Zorro). Thereafter, though, Vertical...

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