Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Up in the Air

Being fired over the Internet, is like being dumped by your fiancee by text.

Up In the Air: Vera Farmiga - George Clooney - Anna Kendrick | A Constantly Racing Mind

H ave you ever traveled with a well-seasoned traveler? He knows his way around every major airline hub in the United States and abroad. He knows how to rent a car and even knows his way around the airport's parking lots. He can make his way through security like a bird during a mating ritual. I have been with one, and it is a truly remarkable experience to behold. When watching George Clooney ("The Men Who Stare at Goats") in "Up in the Air," I immediately thought about the man I once knew, and my fun travelling with him. George Clooney is the well-seasoned traveler in "Up in the Air," a very dialog centric thinking person's movie about a man who makes his living firing people. Jason Bateman ("Couples Retreat") stars as his boss, Craig, his boss at CTS a company that helps them move out of their current positions and out the door. Anna Kendrick ("The Twilight Saga: Eclipse") is the university know-it-all graduate who has a better plan for Clooney's future, but who has a lot to learn about life. In addition, Vera Farmiga ("Orphan") is another well-seasoned traveler who spices up Clooney's character's life in some interesting ways. Over all, director Jason Reitman ("Juno"), who in the past, has taken the subject of teen pregnancy deals with the subject of unemployment and treats it with respect adding tasteful humor to cheer up the subject and his movie.

Living in his cocoon of isolation, Ryan Bingham (Clooney) is a man who carries very little with him in his suitcase, with neither physical nor emotional attachments to weigh him down. Living his life 325 days a year in some of the nicest hotels across the United Sates and hanging out in the airline VIP clubs, most viewers would find Bingham's life sad and empty. The first quarter of the film establishes the character Ryan Bingham, not as a cold, heartless bastard who enjoys telling the person across the table that his purpose in life is over, and he must leave. Even, with rehearsed lines, (c'mon we all have them for times like these), when encountering an employee who is being difficult, Bingham relies on clichés like, “Anybody who ever built an empire, or changed the world, sat where you are now. And it's because they sat there that they were able to do it., and to get through difficult cases,” knowing the gravity of the subject matter, Jason Reitman sets the audience up subtly with short one-liners like when the flight attendant asks Bingham, who is daydreaming at the time, if he wants his "cancer.” Looking up George replies emptily with a "huh.” Repeating, "Would you like your can, sir?" At one of his layovers at the airport's bar, he meets Alex Goran (Farmiga), and we find that she too is an expert traveler. However, throughout the movie, we find out nothing more about Alex, but we get to like her. I guess it is not important. What is important; however, are the important items she fails to mention as she as she and Bingham draw closer, in spite of the verbal contract of just travelers with benefits. With no connections, the two are free to hook up with no strings attached. Introducing the problem in to the story is Keener (Anna Kendrick), wanting to utilize modern technology, video chat and a scripting out the firing process so that anybody could do it, she believes that the art of firing people is now a process. "Up in the Air" is about the lessons Keener learns about people, the lessons Bingham learns about himself, and Alex reveals about her life. In attending his sisters wedding, Bingham finds out about that the people; he calls family, is, and what they think of him. In addition, with some thought what Bingham believes about himself.

Up In the Air: George Clooney - Anna Kendrick | A Constantly Racing Mind

If you have lost your job recently, you may not want to watch this movie as reliving the pain of being let go may be too hard to bear. However, for those that do, you will find the cast and crew treat the subject with respect and humanity. Anna Kendrick's character shows the most growth of them all, as she realizes that being fired is like being dumped by your fiancée, by text. Up in the Air is film about people, situations, conflict and resolution, not about special effects, nor is there a lot of action. That being said, Reitman's direction and pacing is well timed leaving little time for the mind to wander. Each shot is well composed, clear and bright. The dialog is even, well written, and not too wordy. By the end of the film, Clooney's character is stronger in his resolve in maintaining his lifestyle than he was before. Is the film "Up in the Air" an adult romantic comedy, maybe? An introspective look at how we live ours lives knowing that ultimately we are expendable to our employers, it certainly is. Learning to cope with change and the ability to pick oneself up after a fall is what "Up in the Air" is all about.

Movie Data

Genre: Drama, Romance 
Year:  2008
Staring:  George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman 
Director: Jason Reitman
Producer(s): Jason Reitman, Ivan Reitman, Daniel Dubiecki, Jeffrey Clifford
Writer: Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner
Rating: R
Running Time: 109 minutes
Release Date: 12/23/2009

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