Up in the Air (2009)
The more I see of George Clooney‘s work the more I respect him as a an actor, no longer just a pin-up for the ladies, actually a credible actor who can hold a film. Also his choice of films is not your average Hollywood blockbuster or epic, but something with an edge that makes them stand out in the indie film world. Even on Up in the Air (2009) he isn’t credited as having any creative influence in the making of it. There is probably a bit of his work behind the camera going on.
As the poster reads, from the director of Juno (2007) we are given a more adult film that focuses on the life of Ryan Bingham (Clooney) working for a company that are hired by others to do the dirty work of firing their employees. Something that most of us would avoid. Somehow this works out to be the prefect lifestyle for Bingham as he flies all over the country, clocking up the air-miles, The people he fires become blur, they are just apart of his job, running off a script that he has perfected for years.
All this begins to change when a new employee back at the company’s base in Omaha comes up with an idea that could ground them all forever. Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) with a fresh pair of eyes and her life ahead of her has devised a computer program that will save the company millions in times of recession as industry are loosing money. It’s their time to cut costs and use a two-way interface via the internet to fire people. The process is becoming so efficient it’s taking what humanity was in the job out of it. It’s as easy as breaking up with someone with a text, cold and heartless. At least when you are sat opposite a person there is some dignity and respect to the role, as hard as it maybe.
Bingham naturally doesn’t like this threat to his life that sees him up in the air for 200 odd days of the year, living in hotel rooms and out of a suitcase. A life he has gotten down to a T, with his loyalty cards that allow him an easier life, free from the stresses of waiting and wasting time. Predictably both Bingham and Keener are paired up show her the ropes of how tough the job is, to sit in front of a person and how to cope with it, learning to detach yourself to be as professional as you can. Something that comes with experience. Keener goes on a learning curve of how what she expected out of life can be thrown back in her face. To not plan and just let things happen. Her desire for the perfect life are soon tested when she suffers a break up. Something that Bingham until now has no real experience of. Taking up with a woman Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga) with an equally busy life, enjoying the freedom that comes with their lifestyle. Both have life experience, something that really shows in the face of Keeners youthful outlook and aspirations of the white-collar life she wants yet falls short of.
It’s the casual relationship which makes Ryan start to question his own as he sees love being lost, he feels he has found something that gives him what he has been without. This is the heart of the film which sees a hollow life above the skies begin to seem not so glamorous after-all, wanting more than before.
A slick and fun film that combines the corporate world of business, showing the jet set life of a busy worker on the road to not be all it’s cracked up to be. To have more than just money in your pocket and making the most of what you have. Seeking out and wanting more to make it richer in ways that money can never really do. This isn’t preached, its more a learning curve for both Ryan and Natalie who both change as the film progresses. Change is good when you least expect it, shaking up what you are comfortable with and seeing what is really out there. Darkly funny at times, this is a fresh and clever film that doesn’t take itself seriously, with the right cast to make it work.
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