Sunday, January 03, 2010
Movie Reviews: UP IN THE AIR
UP IN THE AIR
From Jason Reitman, the Oscar® nominated director of “Juno,” comes a comedy called “Up in the Air” starring Oscar® winner George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and just after he’s met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams.
Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Danny R. McBride
Director: Jason Reitman
Opened December 4, 2009.
Runtime: 1 hr. 49 min.
Rate R for language and some sexual content
Genres: Romantic Comedy, Comedy Drama, Psychological Drama, Family Drama, Workplace Comedy
It’s truly shocking that Up in the Air is director Jason Reitman’s 3rd film. Reitman’s level of polish is something most directors aspire to when they reach their peak. Up in the Air perfectly captures the cultural zeitgeist, a snapshot in time, filled with all the disconnect and artificial appreciation we all live with day in and out. Specifically, air travel and hotel life is wonderfully replicated with all the shorthand that anyone with any sort of travel experience would be hard pressed not to grin throughout. Reitman is able to meld this with a poignant look at the corporate wasteland caused by downsizing, using non actors in snippet interviews, that has consumed the America’s business landscape over the past couple of years. It’s a tricky balance but it works well especially since this is a romantic comedy at its heart. Reitman’s director is top notch and his cast is equally up to task. George Clooney, doing his best work since Michael Clayton, displays a full range of his character’s persona. His character is confident and head strong but very self aware of his ideology’s paradoxes. Clooney doesn’t shy away from showing his vulnerable side and does so with great effectiveness here. Vera Farmiga does an equally impressive job matching Clooney jab for jab in their scenes together. She displays a great ability to be strong and sexy without falling into the standard pitfalls of this type of role. Doing a similar balancing act is Anna Kendrick who makes her mark on her role which could have faded into cliché in lesser hands. She makes her character funny but grounded in reality, making her seem like someone we’ve all run into at some point in our careers. Peppered throughout the film are strong character actors like JK Simmons, Jason Bateman, Danny McBride, Zach Galifianakis and Sam Elliott. They make what could have been quick throwaway moments into something more substantial. Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner adapted the script from Walter Kirn’s 2001 mostly stream of conscience novel of the same name and there are moments in the film that feel like they are starting to head into rom-com clichés but they throw you curve balls keeping you off balance. It’s a true testament to their efforts in giving the audience something fresh with substance.