Up In The Air Film Review
Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrik.
Here is Yellow Magpie’s Up In The Air film review.
Up In The Air is certainly not typical of Hollywood produce. Smart, quirky and slightly odd adequately describes this wonderfully eccentric film.
‘Clooney manages the tricky task of preventing the film from being a drag on the viewer.’
George Clooney may never be the world’s greatest actor but he does know how to pick great roles. Not only does he excel on screen, but he lightly carries the whole film on his shoulders. On screen for virtually every shot, Clooney manages the tricky task of preventing the film from being a drag on the viewer.
In fact Up In The Air flies by rather entertainingly. Clooney’s Ryan Bingham is an attractive middle-aged, highly adroit, executive who fires people for a living. This unconventional job is a perfect match for an unconventional person who strives to maintain an emotional distance with people, even with what should be close family members.
‘Goran is a female mirror of Bingham, at one point she says to him “think of me as you with a vagina”.’
Alex Goran, Bingham’s ideal doppleganger, provides the romantic sparkle. A character fluently played by Verma Farmiga, Goran is fun, intelligent and savvy however she is also much more. Goran is a female mirror of Bingham, at one point she says to him ‘think of me as you with a vagina’. The two immediately hit it off upon their first encounter and an unusual romance blossoms.
Bingham’s firing agency is undergoing radical changes which are being spearheaded by the young, ambitious upstart, Natalie Keener, portrayed with gusto by Anna Kendrick. Keener is eager to modernise and mechanise the process by which the agency fires people and her method of choice is through the use of the impersonal Internet. Bingham sees his entire carefully built world thrown into turmoil and understandably is not enamoured by Keener’s plans.
Bingham’s colleague seeks to reduce everything to its most basic form. She stringently adheres to devising a simplistic formula to lay out in detail a step-by-step ‘grid’ to firing people. This, Keener hopes, will reduce costs and make the company more efficient, thus raising her profile in the process.
‘Her dearth of knowledge and her work scheme is emblematic of a perceived cultural dumbing down.’
But Keener is representative of much more than just one ambitious dynamo. She embodies change and progress. And in this case it is progress that is not for the better. The dearth of knowledge and her work scheme is emblematic of a perceived cultural dumbing down. She also personifies the modern threat to the worker and the reduction of loyalty between employers and employees to an increasingly meaningless word.
What Keener fails to realise is that people are hugely complicated organisms and no diagram, no matter how complex, will ever be foolproof for her purposes. But as the film progresses a much more subtle and complicated character emerges in turn altering Bingham’s viewpoint on life .
Up In The Air is a quite subtle exploration of what it is like to be alive in the modern world, a world which is indifferent to its human occupants. Like the countless flights that he has taken, for Bingham life is an indeterminable journey to only one destination, death.
‘What Bingham fails to understand is that older people fully realise their own mortality.’
In one of the film’s witty scenes Bingham complains that older people never seem to appreciate the limited amount of time that they have left. What he fails to understand is that older people fully realise their own mortality. They have accepted it and have moved on to a higher understanding. They now fully embrace the present and choose to be happy living in the moment as opposed to fretting about their impending and unavoidable demise.
Bingham chooses to leave behind all emotional baggage, including people, in the hopes of living solely in the now. Confident about his philosophy, he also shares his ideology at important motivational seminars.
However, the film never quite makes it clear as to what exactly Bingham is running away from but perhaps it has something to do with his parents as they are completely absent from the narrative.
Up In The Air is a wonderfully different film. Funny, witty and at times poignant, it is a film which ultimately makes you realise that what is truly important in life isn’t pleasing the self, but surrounding yourself with people you care about.
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