Movie Review: Up In The Air

By Saurin Parikh

Anyone else as the Ryan Bingham of Up In The Air would have been a casting disaster. Some roles are tailor-made for certain actors, I can’t think of anyone else as the protagonist of Up In The Air. George Clooney it is. Confident, suave, sexy, and yet vulnerable at times, Clooney carries Up In The Air on his shoulders, and like numerous times before, he is majestic.

Up In The Air is the story of Ryan Bingham, a high-flying (literally) downsizing expert. Bingham’s job is to fire people, it’s a tough job but he does it with ease. He consoles the victims, is humane with them, he delivers the news calmly and often tells them why being fired would now allow them to pursue their dreams. It’s a rotten thing to do, but someone’s gotta do it, and Bingham is an expert at it. He travels incessantly, he hates going home, rather feels at home on a flight. Ryan Bingham is a lovable character, it has been written very well, but made more likeable by Clooney.

Being on the road, oops, sorry, being up in the air is Bingham’s lifestyle choice, and an admirable one at that. He’s a privileged customer of airlines and hotels, he loves the status he’s got and Clooney does a wonderful job of making you jealous of it. He says he doesn’t need people, he stays away from any commitment, rarely meets his sisters. But Bingham meets Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga) at a hotel and in due course, falls for her. Clooney is wonderful when he acts unwittingly vulnerable during this part of the character’s life. Also fun to watch is Bingham’s interactions with his colleague Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick). Natalie is a young exec; Bingham has been assigned the task of training her. Natalie doesn’t adhere to Bingham’s lifestyle philosophies and the way they clash make up an interesting part in the movie.

Up In The Air is an adaption of Walter Kim’s novel of the same name. Directed by Jason Reitman (known for classics like Juno and Thank You For Smoking), Up In The Air has been received well so far. It received six Golden Globe nominations, winning the Best Screenplay award. It has also received six Academy Award nominations.

Up In The Air is satirical at times, funny at times and dramatic at times. It’s a film about a man who fires people for a living, but at the same time, it’s also a film about a man who runs, or flies, away from commitment. His theories make sense at times, but seem melancholic too.

Overall, a well-made movie with a unique storyline. A definite must see.

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February 2010
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