Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Up in the Air
We watched Up in the Air yesterday, by director Jason Reitman (of Thank You for Smoking and Juno fame) with George Clooney and two great female actresses- Vera Farmiga playing George's love interest and Anna Kendrick as his overly zealous co-worker. It was nice to get to know these two new faces. I had not seen Vera in a film before though she looked familiar and you might recognize Anna from the Twilight Saga where she plays Jessica, Bella's friend.
The movie is a very fast paced, excellently written, quite dark comedy centering around Clooney's character and his job which is firing people whose bosses "don't have the balls to sack their own employees". The actors playing the "firees" are real life people who have been terminated, adding a certain poignancy to their candid interviews. There are some excellent one-liners that come of these which George delivers perfectly "try not to take this personally", "review this packet, I am sure you will find a lot of helpful information in it" etc. These scenes make for some extremely memorable moments and George excels in the cynical but casual portrayal of his character, delivering each line with a super size heaping of charm.
Vera is fantastic as his female counterpart and quasi clone of him, but I was most impressed with Anna and thought she did a terrific job maintaining her seriousness and composure during many of the firing scenes and hilarious interactions with George. One favorite of mine was when he forces her to change suitcases at the airport and to carry on instead of checking in- something he learned saves him about a week of time each year. While his luggage is always extremely neatly packed, each type of clothing having its own compartment, hers is overflowing with loose items and even a pillow. George proceeds to throw out half of her belongings as he tries to initiate her to his road warrior ways. He imparts some more wisdom when he tells her to always stand in line behind Asians, as they are quick and efficient. A pleasant relationship grows between them and it is nice to watch his character melt just a little bit.
Some of the banter between him and Vera is very funny but at times feels over scripted and not quite real, such as when they are comparing their elite status cards at their first meeting. I thought this was a bit overdone but entertaining nonetheless.
There is a lot of American Airlines and Hilton promotion but in counterpart Reitman got to shoot a lot of airport, airplane and hotel scenery for free. That's a pretty smart decision in these economic times so once you know that, the blatant placement doesn't get too much in the way.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable film, speaking very much to today's mood and spirit, easy to watch, with many laugh out loud moments. What could me more fun and humourous than to watch a company thriving on the misfortune of others. Things don't end so well for George's character Ryan Bingham however, as the holes and lack of performance in his own life are exposed throughout his journeys- no significant other, no children, weak ties with his family and worst of all, no place to call home.
Fabio and I both definitely recommend this film and give it a whopping 9/10!