Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Up in the Air

Jason Reitman (Thank you for not Smoking 2006, Juno 2007) adapted his latest movie Up in the Air (2009) from Walter Kirn's 2001 novel of the same name and turned it into a razor-sharp view of modern corporate America. George Clooney is at his smooth-taking best as Ryan Bingham, a middle-aged ‘career transition consultant’ a man who fires people for a living on behalf of management that have not got the balls to do the job themselves, a man whose only ambition in life is achieving ten million air miles which will reward him with a platinum card and a quick chat with a pilot! Two women arrive in Ryan’s life and challenge his relationship free existence. The first is Alex Goren (Vera Farmiga), much the same age as Ryan and living a similarly fancy-free airborne life, with whom he has an affair. On the surface an ideal couple. ‘Think of me as yourself with a vagina’ she tells her fellow corporate traveller. The other women is 23 year old Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) who threatens the very existence of Ryan and his colleagues when she persuades their boss Craig Gregory (Jason Bateman) that firing people impersonally via a computerised video link would save the company a fortune in air fares and hotel bills. Ryan is to take one last trip to show the young and inexperienced Natalie the ropes. Reitman black comedy is full of sharp dialogue and great one liners, ‘a feel good film for feel bad times’ as Philip French described it. Not to be missed, highly entertaining.

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