Saturday, January 23, 2010

Up In The Air


The tag line kind of says it all I guess, the story of a man ready to make a connection, or is he? Our main character Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is grounded a very limited number of a days in the year, he's always on the move, travelling from city to city having been hired to fire people from their jobs. Basically because the person meant to do it is too much of a coward, which Ryan explains of course. He lives life out of a bag, not connected to anyone or anything. All that changes however when his company hires a new young hot shot Natalie (Anna Kendrick) who has new ideas for the company which would see the employees grounded. This does not sit well with Bingham, and his boss (Jason Bateman) in turn asks Ryan to show Natalie the ropes before they go ahead with her plan. Of course along the way Ryan meets his female counter part Alex (Vera Farmiga) and those connections start to get made. Throw in some side story about Ryan's sister getting married, and you have yourself Up In The Air.

This is the third film from Jason Reitman (the son of Ivan who has directed such classics as Stripes, Twins, Kindergarten Cop and Dave), and I must say I think Jason just keeps on getting better. I really enjoyed Thank You For Smoking and this film is in the same vein as that. I liked Juno as well, but this film is an improvement from that. I haven't read the book that this is based upon, so I can't really compare but what I found here was a really enjoyable and some what truthful film with certain elements. Each of our main characters had their charms and quirks and you enjoy spending time with them, and you want to reach out and help them.

George Clooney was made for this role, I can't imagine anyone else as Ryan and nor do I want to. This fit him like a glove, he hit all the right notes. George just had all the right elements, even his age fit the bill perfectly. His chemistry with Anna and Vera was spot on, you couldn't really ask for a better trio. You really get into the relationship that forms between Alex and Ryan, and when certain things happen you really feel it. The relationship between Natalie and Ryan works so well and they play off each other perfectly. There are some scenes which were just so fantastic you didn't want them to end. I mentioned Anna Kendrick being the stand out in The Marc Pease Experience and she is a stand out here, I really hope to see more of her (And no not in the Twilight-Saga she is far too good for that), she is fast becoming one of my favourite young actresses. Vera Farmiga is quite charming in this, she looks stunning as well. She had great chemistry with George, which all played out really well. As I said they made a great trio, and when they have scenes together it is so funny in how they played out, I really loved it.

Jason has a great style and it works for a film like this. He knows how to get these great performances from his actors and he picks some great names for smaller roles (J.K. Simmons for example who was also in Juno and Thank You For Smoking). The messages in the film are obvious and I think the only thing which let this film down was the way it actually concluded. It really is a relevant film for the way things have been over the past few years, with more people losing their jobs and such. I can see looking back at this and saying it was a product of its time, but it certainly wont feel dated. This is one I do want to see again, like with Thank You For Smoking it feels like it has that re-watch value. I am really looking forward to what Reitman comes up with next, in my opinion he is three for three.

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