Up in the air. In Suspension. In limbo.
This Oscar nominated movie is all about uncertainity. Narrated through the eyes of Ryan Bingham ( George Clooney) , a consultant, whose job is to fire people for companies. ,Up in the Air, is clearly a movie of the times.
On the surface you would believe that this story is about being a frequent flyer, about calling the airplane your home and about the privelage of being a preimum customer. But it really is about life – about how as humans we tend to tie ourselves up and forget to do things that really matter.
Though Ryan claims to be free of all attachments with his famous empty backpack philosophy, when a change at work threatens to upset his lifestyle , you realize that his need to be on the move is a constant baggage.
The change at work is brought on by Natalie Keener ( Anne Kendrick) – fresh from grad school who is determined to revolutionzie her work place. Her “firing over videochat” brainwave is instantly popular with the management,but Ryan believes that she is far removed from the realities of her job. Directly challenged by Ryan , she is sort of “apprenticed” to him to understand the nature of her work. What follows is a comical little journey around the country with both of them .
The other main character is Alex ( Vera Farmiga) , a frequent flyer that Ryan bumps into at an airport lounge. They instantly fall into an affair. She is the female version of Ryan which is what appeals to him. She literaly becomes his mirror as the movie progresses and Ryan learns some pretty hard lessons.
” Uncertainity ” is the key theme of the movie – The unfortuante employee who gets fired faces uncertainity with his future. The young, ambitious newbie on the job, doesn’t know if her revolutionary ideas will be stomached with other veterans in the company, worse can she stomach them herself. She doesnt know if her life is going where she wanted to go.
Then there is Ryan, whose his life has been literally suspended in mid-air. Is he ready to grow roots and settle down? When he meets the perfect woman, does he get the perfect life? Is he ready to follow his oft repeated advice that he hands out to the person that he has just sacked – take a second chance at life.
The acting is top-notch. I have been a huge fan of George Clooney over the recent years. I believe he has a talent for picking really slick and tight scripts – Michael Clayton, GoodNight and GoodLuck case in point. Up In The Air is another tight script full of surprises. Anna Kenderick is very convincing as a young busienss school pass out – why are we all so naive that when we step out in the real world, all we want to do is change it?
I think Jason Reitman is my new favorite American director – I absolutely loved “Juno” and “Thank you for smoking” and this is another brilliant piece from him.
I loved the opening titles of the movie – the ariel shots of America! I was really excited to learn a little trivia about the St. Louis airport – yay!
Things that I did not like about the movie – the unabashed American Airlines, Hilton and Hertz advertising !I found out later that this was not paid advertisement – the production crew used these facilities and in exchange displayed the logos. Symbiotic business existence – good for the industry!
Verdict: Watch it.