Monday, May 9, 2011

Up In The Air

Movie Review : Up In The Air
Director : Jason Reitman
Genre : Comedy/Drama
Released : December 2009
Staring : George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
My Rating : 8 out of 10

Jason Reitman is destined to become one of the greatest directors of all time. Not even 35 yet, he has given us "Thank You For Smoking", "Juno" and now "Up In The Air". I was tremendously impressed with "Thank You For Smoking" - definitely the sharpest satire I have seen. In "Up In The Air", he mixes in some sensitivity in the satire without loosing the sharpness of the comedy.

The story is very contemporary. Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) works for a company that helps other companies fire their employees. Ryan is a specialist, a professional. He understands the delicateness of his job responsibilities, treats people with respect and loves what he does. Not because he enjoys hurting people, but because he thinks he doing tough important work. And he also loves the lifestyle. Definitely. He has mastered the art of living on road. Figured out every detail. And he is more concerned about joining the 10 million mile club than having any roots anywhere.

We also meet Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), another road warrior. Ryan and Alex get together very well, right after their first meeting. They arrange their plans to meet at common airports, have frequent short steamy encounters and are almost like a couple - almost. Joining Ryan is Natalie (Anna Kendrick), a new hire who has some novel ideas about how to fire people.

The story moves on - touching us in many different ways, we chuckle, we feel the pain. And we learn more and more about the characters. And Ryan learns a lot more about life and himself.

Although Ryan's transformation, and even the ending, is somewhat predictable, it is believable. Reitman doesn't trick us. He also keeps the drama aspect to a perfect level, only as much as needed. The movie is not a romantic comedy, although it may appear at times as such. It's not just drama either. It cannot be pigeonholed into one genre.

The movie has multiple strengths. The screenplay is exceptional. Character development is perfect - all 3 major characters are multidimensional and you understand them completely, even if you may or may not like them. Acting is superb. The lion's share goes to George Clooney and he is a perfectly cast in this role. In the beginning of the movie, we see George Clooney giving a motivation speech. Compare that to the one he gives at the end. These are 2 very different shades of the same color. Very nicely done.

I loved this movie. I think it has appeal for a very large diverse audience. Highly recommended, but not for kids.

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