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Genre: Drama
Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman, Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, J.K. Simmons, Danny McBride, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Lowell, Sam Elliott, Steve Eastin
RunTime: 1 hr 49 mins
Released By: UIP
Rating: PG (Coarse language and some nudity)
Official Website: http://www.theupintheairmovie.com/

Opening Day: 4 March 2010


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.

Movie Review:

George Clooney. One name that almost always guarantees a hit movie, not necessarily a box office success but a critic’s darling. It appears Mr Clooney seems to have a Midas touch of some sort, considering he has been a triple Oscar nominee within a short span of four years and garnering a Best Supporting Actor gong for his role in Syriana. This movie has led him to his third acting nomination, his second Best Actor nod. While Clooney always gives his best in his roles, it appears more often than not, that his co-stars are just as stellar – case in point, Michael Clayton, Syriana, the Men Who Stare at Goats, to name a few. Up in the Air is no different. Joining him in the fantastic cast are Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick and Jason Bateman who all shine in their roles especially the two ladies both of whom have been nominated for an Oscar together in the Best Supporting Actress category.

This reviewer must admit that he felt some trepidation at the start of the movie. It felt that George Clooney was playing a role that was similar to the roles that he played before like the lawyer Michael Clayton or Burn After Reading but as the movie found its groove, I came to discover that while he may bring his usual charm to his roles, he often puts in nuanced performances complete with the character’s idiosyncrasies no matter how subtle they can be.

It was hard to approach this movie considering that he plays Ryan Bingham, a character whose job nature does not make him likeable immediately. Afterall, Ryan Bingham is “the man companies hire when they don’t have the guts to tell their employees they’re being fired”. The thing is, he enjoys his job which allows him to travel from one state to another and is in the air almost 300 days a year and of course, the perks of collecting frequent flyer miles. He treats the airplane as his home and feels offish when he returns home to his empty apartment in Omaha. As a result, when the young Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) comes up with the idea to terminate employees online instead and in return cutting their company’s costs by 85%, their boss (Jason Bateman) decides to give the programme a trial run, causing Bingham and his other colleagues to be grounded.

In trying to convince his boss that personal touch can never be replaced by technology, he is told to take Natalie on his trips to give her a first hand experience at terminating people face-to-face. It is on this trip that the two opposites start to discover each other and the true nature of Bingham’s character rears its head. This brings about an interesting situation as the audience is fully invested with Bingham’s personality at this point, pondering questions like “Is he a loner?”, “Is her using all the flying as an excuse to get away from everything else, to avoid disappointments?” – stuff like that.

Writer/Director Jason Reitman, who also appears to have the Midas touch like Clooney has successfully packaged a movie about a possibly unlikable man and making the movie one of the year’s best. Though he generally tackles topical and serious issues like teenage pregnancy in Juno and smoking in Thank You For Smoking, he has masterfully created a synergy between the serious and the satirical. He also appears to have a knack for getting the right actors together and guiding them to wonderful performances.

In staying with the nature of the movie, the production team went out and got recently fired individuals to play the employees who get terminated in the movie. These “actors” were told to re-enact what had happened to them and were also given an opportunity to say things they would have wanted to say but never got the chance to. The economic downturn was not a pleasant moment and it is not the movie’s prerogative to remind people of that. However, the movie is one that prides on dignity and anyone who watches it will easily identify with the themes of the movie.

Movie Rating:

(Anyone who takes time to partake in a wanderlust with Clooney and gang will find the experience worthwhile!)

Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri


. Burn After Reading (2008)

. Juno (2007)

. A Good Year (2007)

. Broken Flowers (2005)

. Thank You For Smoking (2005)

. The Promotion DVD (2008)

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