January 22, 2010

Up In The Air Review

Up in the Air is about a guy who has a travelling job (you can say that the job is travelling) who lives a charmed life and shows us a ring side view of his life for a brief period.

Ryan Bingham (Clooney) is a Professional who gets to say "You've been let go!" to many workers whose managers are sissies to say it to those employees themselves. Ryan's company, CTC - not only dole out "Firing Agents for Hire", but also claim to provide means for the fired person to get back up on their feet. As popularly claimed by the movie's makers, "Ryan is like a masseur who comes in and sort of rubs your shoulders while rolling your desk chair into the elevator.". Apart from this regular job, Ryan also is a amateur motivational speaker with a talk titled "What's in your backpack?" where he sells his life ideology - to not have any committments and ties to person, places or things. The only personal goal for Ryan is to reach 10 million frequent flier miles with American Airlines which is fueled by his job travelling.

The movie kickstarts with the fact that Natalie, a new graduate from Cornell has joined CTC and has convinced the management that travelling is wasteful expenditure and that the firing agents must work from Omaha, NE (where the company is headquarterd) and mus do their job online, by using video-audio conferencing. Ryan heavily disagrees with this methodology and the company recommends that he show Natalie as to why he is against the new system by showing her how he does his job.

The trip together opens Natalie's eyes to the reality of Clooney's job and the emotional side that they have to encounter which makes her believe in the remote method more as it does not involve any face to face contact with the employees being fired. She is also curious with Clooney's relationship with Alex, who is a woman who travels a lot for work too.

The plot unfolds as Ryan and Natalie discover what is missing in their lives and what they really need and what they do to get it.

Clooney has reveled in this role which plays up to his strengths. There is already some talk on an Oscar and they might not be totally misplaced. Anna Kendrick plays Natalie who is shown more of an immature person who, by the movies end, transforms into someone who starts taking control of her own life. At many scenes, Anna is able to convey the confusions of her character quite well and I guess this lady has a quite a future in the industry. Vera Farmiga has the meatiest role and I guess she does leave an impact on you in the end, with the role and also her acting. An interesting fact about this movie is that the director has shots of real people who lost jobs narrating their experiences about how it felt to be fired, what they did and how they coped up with the fact of being fired and the next bigger fact that they were able to accept the fact that they cannot earn to put food on the table for the family. One of the movie's character says that the moment that a person is being let go from their job is a very personal one and we can see why it is so from these real people talking about their harrowing experience.

From a director's standpoint, Jason Reitman had this killer storyline from the book by Walter Kim. He and co-writer Sheldon Turner have done enough to make the book come to life on the big screen. As has been the trend, this movie is another G. Clooney movie where there are quite a few killer lines, sample being Ryan's gyaan about which line to stand in when you are having yourself and your hand-baggage scanned.

Never get behind old people. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left. Bingo, Asians. They pack light, travel efficiently, and they have a thing for slip on shoes. Gotta love 'em.

In the end, what surprises you in the movie is that Clooney who has always played the arrogant, suave, self assured roles so far, plays a completely out of the comfort zone role in the second half. When you have the protagonist of the film as a guy for hire to say the dreaded words "You are let go!", you'd better want that actor to be charming so that people don't start emotionally detaching themselves from the movie; Clooney is the exact recipe for this. And also the nice way in which the director shows you in the end as to how the people who lost their jobs got back on their feet (which is stark contrast to Clooney's life mantra).

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