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- Story -
Ryan Bingham works by travelling around the US visiting various companies and firing employees on their behalf. He spends most of his life on the move and so he tends to live his life out of his suitcase but his life takes a sudden, unwanted turn when the company he works for effectively grounds him, after asking him to train a younger employee ready to take his place (Natalie). Ryan has spent many years building up airmiles on his loyalty card, his goal being to reach the 10 million airmile point - can he achieve this in time before he's cut off and is he really as happy as he seems to preach, to live his life in such a way?.
- Thoughts & Opinions -
* side note - please be aware that I felt I couldn't really comment on much without giving away some plot details which could be seen as spoilers - if you hate reading spoilers then please skip this section - apologies for that*
This is yet another movie with seemingly little focus to start with, I questioned why we as a viewer should feel sorry for Ryan, given he seems rather self obsessed and smug. This is mainly a dialogue based movie, there's little visual comedy or action, the comedy is quite subtle, to be honest its not a movie I laughed very much at, some parts are mildly amusing and there are some witty lines at times but its fairly sutble - its certainly not a laugh-out-loud comedy.
I liked the idea of his job basically being to fire other people - I thought it was quite dark at points with the dialogue he'd use to communicate with the people he was firing, hinting at there being a longer relationship between him and them, trying to create a sense that their being fired was the start of something much more positive and the voice over of him confirming to the viewer this wasn't the case. The more you think about it, the more depressing it is in a way but then its one of those movies where you can't help but feel like its commentating on bad practices in real life.
Natalie is an interesting character - she relies on Ryan to teach her the ropes as far as travelling and firing is concerned - she's seen as the new generation of the company, I suppose. She shows naivety and Ryan isn't much impressed with having to show her how things are best done, pointing out even little things such as how much time is wasted to check in just one bag for a flight (if you calculate it based on the number of flights he's had to take, it equates to a whole week of queuing up each year(!)) and claiming to ignore it when people who have just been fired by them threaten to hurt themselves (of course their upset, who wouldn't be? its just talk), which comes back to haunt him later on. She finds it hard to settle in to such a turbulent lifestyle and while the transition is going on with Ryan knowing he's effectively on his way out himself afterwards, he tries to cling on to a relationship, if but a superficial, ocassional one, he has with who I think is an airline representative (or a similar occupation, I don't remember exactly), that being as far as he'll go in terms of commitments. Towards the end of the movie it becomes clear that his lack of a family, infact given other sub-plots it becomes clear that his family is particularly distant from him, barely able to spend much time with him, that is what sets him apart and while he seems almost happy with that being the case, there's also a clear irony present. At least a couple of times we see him present a speech at events all about peoples luggage (metaphorically speaking) but that becomes quite a bittersweet message by the end.
I was surprised by how sentimental this movie ended up being - the main message behind it is certainly nothing new, infact the sentimentality is a bit off-putting. I was expecting this to be more of a romantic movie given the short blurb about it that I'd read, a romantic drama perhaps but I wouldn't say thats the case. Having said that, it is quite a quirky movie, there are quite a few interesting characters, with a sub-plot involving a cardboard cut out being particularly random and kind of funny in a random way, there is certainly something appealing about it and if you like sentimentality and don't mind the ocassional sex reference and possibly some strong language, then you might enjoy this. I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it overall, I'm not sure there's a great deal I can say really, I found the comedy to be pretty subtle or dark and it seems to be telling the viewer a message or two about the importance of family, which some might balk at but if thats your kind of thing then you might also find it quite touching, I suppose it depends.
The acting is all pretty top notch, I didn't notice anything 'wooden' and I felt that Ryan and Natalie were particularly well portrayed, they both seem quite believable as different people, the way they interacted was good. I feel this movie provides a new spin on perhaps an old concept. Personally, I felt that overall this movie was perhaps a bit lukewarm, to me it was maybe a little overly sentimental, that didn't particularly appeal to me but I can see why some people might quite enjoy it, it does have the feel of a movie that hasn't been rushed out, the cast put a fair bit of effort into portraying their characters, with Clooney ultimately coming across as pretty vulnerable and reticent perhaps even at the end, which may be a surprise for some.
I suppose I could say that this movie didn't seem to have a great deal of focus but I guess it does, it just isn't very clear what that is until almost the very end and we may not expect it - it is ultimately a bit mushy and certainly sentimental although not in maybe the traditional format that some movies feature that in (if that makes any sense? I know what I mean :-/).
- Would I Recommend It? -
Personally, I don't feel that this was really a particularly memorable movie, so I suppose I wouldn't personally recommend it, no. It has its quirks, the characters are all of some interest to an extent certainly and the performances are decent but I personally felt it ended up being a bit too sentimental and I felt somehow the main plot lacked focus and was even perhaps a little confusing at times. This is an average to good movie that by the end I couldn't help but feel overall a bit lukewarm about, hence my 3 star rating, however I imagine other people might like it more than I did, so its up to you to choose whether you'd like to see it or not. I hope that makes sense lol.
Thanks for reading my review, I hope you found it useful and thanks for any and all ratings and comments.
Film Only Review:
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is what is refered to in the buisness as a corporate downsizer. He spends most of his life in airports and on aeroplanes travelling all over the place (He's saving for 10000 airmiles!) and goes into buisnesses where for whatever reason the boss of that buisness is too cowardly basically to fire his workforce. He's also a motivational speaker, promoting a somewhat lonely existence that he prefers, he thinks of the airline as home and his little, empty flat more like a prison cell.
He's good at his job, fast and is happy with his rich living lifestyle when he meets a lady with the same kind of attitude to life as him, who is also an 'on the road person', in fact Alex (Vera Farmiga) is someone who also doesn't appear to do commitment but they soon give into their mutual attraction and start arranging their schedules so they can spend the odd night together, fun times no commitment.
However his employers have decided that sending people out on planes and paying them a salarie plus all the benefits they get isn't cost effective and pulled into the office Ryan gets to meet new recruit Natalie (Twilight's Anna Kendrick), someone who is really ambitious and has come up with the far more cost effective way of sacking people. Video conferencing the calls from a centre. Ryan is obviously gutted at this as he's isolated from his friends and family, the way he likes it and suddenly he may be stuck on the ground.
Ryan's boss though is determined that Natalie is right and demands that Ryan shows her exactly what he does and how. Hes suddenly teamed with not only an ambitious young woman but also a very emotionally charged one who believes in love and perfection, married and wanting kids. They are opposites.
Ryan takes her to many places, shows her lots of sackings, tries her video conferencing idea and it looks like its working out. However being around the hopeful Natalie does rub off on stone cold usually to emotions Ryan and he deecides to go to his sisters wedding and asks Alex to accompany him which she does.
He soon realises really though that although his family seem to love him, they don't need him and spending time with Alex just dancing and having company may be quite nice, maybe it wont be so bad to make some ties and feel emotion afterall?
However things don't always go to plan do they? Could it be that now is the time he wants to settle for some reason than to have to go flying again all over the place? Will he make his 10000 air miles up to show for all the hours he's spent flying and dedicated to his job? Will Alex want a life with him even if he wants one with her or is him changing the rules in their relationship and wanting more going to dampen things?
I loved this film. I am a George Clooney fan anyway and he's as dashing as ever in this and plays his aloof character well, and well me...I fell a little bit in love with Ryan. It made a nice change for a fillm not to go the way I predicted it would and so I was a little surprised at the ending. The music was unmemorable as were alot of cast members acting but its a nice enough film for a one watch, its humourous where its meant to be and at the end I couldn't help but feel a little sad so it pushed all my buttons I guess!
At 109 minutes long this film was just right for me, my mate and my bum and rated 15 it wasn't very explicit or anything either!
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a corporate downsizer. He flies around the country giving employees the bad news about their pending unemployment and offers them counselling as well as "options" for their future. He also speaks at seminars as a motivational guru stressing non-attachment in life. Despite sharing a home base with his soon to be married sister, Bingham's life is mostly in the air, where he aims to join the elite nine people who have won over a million air miles. Meanwhile he is told about a new system that will reduce the travelling, effectively firing people by online and is given an apprentice who is a dab hand at it. Disgusted at the new impersonal concept and feeling a need to break from the no-commitment lifestyle of his job, Ryan tries to embark on a serious relationship with another "up in the air" professional and test his personal philosophy...
"Up in the Air" is a refreshingly unpredictable film. It does convey something of a message, but like other American middleclass comedy dramas, "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Sideways" it seems to enjoy a certain degree of awkwardness. This isn't the laugh out loud uncomfortable comedy of "Curb your Enthusiasm", but more a wry smile to the anti-fairy tale plot driven life that Buddy Ackerman warned his assistant about in "Swimming with Sharks". To this end "Up in the Air" might be dissatisfying to many rom-com fans who are familiar with the rhythm: guy meets girl, guy and girl are different but somehow attracted to one another, guy and girl break up over problem, guy and girl resolve problem and everyone lives happily ever after. Readers of good psychology and sociology (not to mention to those who've lived a life and are being straight with themselves!) will know that this sort of set-up almost never happens and is very unlikely to form the basis of a happy relationship. However, for what it's worth, I can say that at least there is a feel of honesty running through this particular film.
To begin with we have Clooney playing a role he could eat for breakfast. He's the ultra-professional company "downsizer". The novel describes his character with even more pretentious and misleading title of "career transition counsellor". From what I can see he is pretty much hired to give the unfortunate employee their news as well as the redundancy package. In this role, his character is easily transferable to the ones he made his own in "Dusk Till Dawn" or the Ocean's trilogy as the proud professional thief. He goes in, gets the job done and is proud about his work in a way that is somehow reminiscent of the sad enthusiasm we saw displayed by Robin Williams in "One Hour Photo", but not nearly as pathetic. This isn't to say we don't see the pitfalls or a repercussion of the job - after all that's a major part of the story. Ryan Bingham loves his work, but is limited by it and sees how it has restricted him emotionally. Ultimately though this is the job he does best and this is the transient lifestyle he has grown to love. Jason Reitman should be given credit for showing the obvious imperfections of this career choice - problems that the majority of us outside of this job can see - but never appears judgmental.
Of course, despite our lead man's obvious dominance here this isn't a film entirely about him. It is also about his supporting cast, who play the different characters in his life. They are there to demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of his chosen lifestyle. They help show other attributes he has developed, such as his motivational skills that are brought to the fore prior to his sister's wedding. Luckily Reitman has enough integrity and insight not to buy into the whole cult of "self-help" and there are clear comments on this side of things too in the form of insincere or hypocritical pseudo-philosophers. All of these supporting characters seem to serve more than as simple devices to help us better understand Ryan Bingham. For example, Vera Famiga's part might seem like the ultimate personification of the self-serving transient professional, but she seems just as bewildered as Ryan Bingham when he chooses to break the rules of their "casual relationship".
If you are expecting an easygoing rom-com then this is not the picture for you. It's not a barrel of laughs either, not even containing the off-beat but very effective punch-lines and slapstick of "Little Miss Sunshine". There isn't that "one moment", like in "About Schmidt" or other similar bittersweet comedies. However, it's clever and witty enough not to take itself too seriously. Mercifully not even the film's attitude to philosophy is presented as a neat Hollywood package with a nicely formed and socially acceptable moral. Instead the audience is left to debate a few issues regarding human relationships, happiness, individuals, life choices and the possible benefits of isolation.
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Ryan Bingham lives in the air. He works for a company who gets employed to sack people and travels around the country for the majority of the year. He is happy with his job and life and never wants to settle. Ryan meets Alex who is also a keen traveller. They bond over their reward cards and Ryan tells her that he has a goal of saving 10, 000,000 loyalty points so he can be the 7th man in history to do so and will get his name on the side of a plane.
Ryan gets a call from his boss who explains that he must return to the office as they have news for all the employees. Ryan heads back only to learn that all of the employers are going to be grounded as they have introduced a new way to work. A young employee, Natalie has developed a software programme now which means they can do their work from the office over a computer and never have to fly again. Ryan is very upset by this as he lives for flying and hotels so he manages to talk his boss into letting him take Natalie out on the road so she can see just how important it is to do the job in person.
Can Ryan persuade Natalie that he needs to be on the road and what will happen to Alex and can Ryan ever reach his 10,000,00 air miles?
I was looking forward to watching this film as the trailers made it look good and I am a fan of George Clooney. The film did not let me down in any way at all and was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. The story was good and different from any I had seen before. By the half way point I thought I had worked out the ending as was slightly disappointed by this but I ma pleased to say it was not as predictable as I thought it would be and did not end as I had thought. There is a little more to the story than what I have talked about above which does help to give it some depth and let us get to know the characters a little better.
The acting was great and the lead role of Ryan was played by George Clooney. He was a great character and came across very well. He was strong and knew what he wanted and liked in life. I did feel sorry for him at times with the way he loved living in hotels and out of a suitcase and felt he was missing so much by not having a family but as I got to know him more I felt that this really suited him as he was so uncomfortable when around family members and never felt the need to settle. He showed another side to his personality when he was working with Natalie and at times this took on a Fatherly role and it was good to see him trying to take care of her and help her. I felt this let me see more of him and realise he was not as hard or strong as he originally appeared. He worked well with the character of Alex, played by Vera Farmiga, there was a good chemistry between them both and it did seem genuine and not at all forced.
I did like the role of Natalie, she was played by Anna Kendrick. She was naive and innocent but at times she tried to be strong and tough but she was always end up showing us that t was only a front. I think she was a good choice to add to the film as she was a normal everyday girl who wanted to set out her life and follow it to the letter. She was not able to accept that some people did not want to settle and just be happy with what they had. She was the complete opposite of Ryan and because of this they did make for some entertaining and fun moments and conversations. We also had some good support roles from actors including, Jason Bateman, Amy Morton and Melanie Lynskey.
The film is set all over America but we really don't get to see a lot of the country, we see a lot of different airports and check in's and for me I would have liked to have seen a lot more of the scenery. At the very start of the film in the opening credits we did have a lot of scenery shots and they were very enjoyable to see and I just wish this would have continued throughout the film. We always knew what city or area we were in as the place names came up on the screen. We never had any chance of seeing the different ways of life or lifestyles in the cities as we were always inside offices and buildings.
The music was good and very in keeping with the film. There weren't really any tracks which stood out but I did enjoy it all. We had a few special effects which were good and fitted very well into the film but there was only a few of these, there is no action in the film so don't expect any explosions or gun fights. The costumes and props were all very good, the film is set in the present day so not much effort was really needed for these.
This is a film only review so there are no bonus features to speak about. The run time of the film is 108 minutes and the certificate is a 15. I agree with the 15 rate as there is some swearing in the film. The DVD can be bought for around the £7 mark which I feel is a good price, this s currently being shown on Sky Movies at the moment though.
I am happy to give this film a good solid 4 stars. The acting was very good and so too was the story. I would have given it the full 5 stars f we would have see more of the scenery and views over America as Ryan was travelling around. George Clooney is certainly back on form with this film and it is certainly one for his fans to watch
Up In The Air, directed by Jason Reitman, was released in 2009. Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, it tells the story of Ryan Bingham (Clooney), who works for a company which is hired by other companies to do their firing. He is never at home, and spends his life flying and in hotel rooms, which is just how he likes it. He meets Alex (Farmiga) while travelling, a female version of himself, and then his perfectly ordered life is threatened by young upstart Natalie (Kendrick) who has big plans to change the nature of their business.
Up In The Air appealed to me as a gentle comedy, with a fairly original story and premise, and also because of the actors - a film with George Clooney is usually worth a watch, and I was keen to see what Anna Kendrick could do outside the Twilight Saga, where she plays a dippy teenager.
The story of Up In The Air isn't exactly groundbreaking, but it is different and makes for some good scenes. Ryan hates being at home, and lives to collect miles, dreaming of earning 10 million miles and being part of that elite club with so many special perks. He meets Alex and she fits into his life perfectly, but then young Natalie really starts to mess things up for him. This disorder to his life brings plenty of mildly amusing moments as we see Ryan struggle to manage change.
Ryan is a great main character. He is not ashamed of how he lives, in fact he loves his life. Everything is perfectly ordered, he gets fast track boarding at airports, check in at hotels, pick up at car rental...until Natalie comes along. Although Ryan is very different to me, and probably even very different to the frequent travellers I know (they don't travel anything like as much), he's easy to relate to because he is a nice guy, and also because he is played by George Clooney, who is one of these actors who comes across as a good guy. Clooney is once again on top form in Up In The Air, and makes a character who could come across as cold and indifferent, seem warm, friendly and human.
Natalie is a mixture of funny, scary and sweet. She's a young graduate with big plans, and in her first meeting with her older and more experienced colleagues she presents herself as extremely efficient, knowledgeable and confident, presumably in a bid to win them over. But Ryan soon reveals her inexperience. The interaction between the two is really good, they work very well together on screen. Natalie is immediately revealed as an inexperienced traveller next to Ryan (as well as inexperienced in the working world) and this changes our perception of her. From a cold, effiecient graduate she becomes a young girl trying to establish herself in the corporate world. However, once Natalie is on the scene, things start to change for Ryan as well. This character who has been so well established in the opening scenes of the film that we feel we know everything about him begins to change, begins to question what appeared rock solid.
I enjoyed Kendrick's portrayal of a rather changeable and multifaceted character, and it was nice to see her do something completely different to the character she plays in the Twilight films. I think she shows a lot of promise, and I look forward to seeing her in more films.
There is a lot of gentle humour in Up In The Air, lots of silly little incidents with Ryan and Natalie which elicit a giggle or two. The funniest scene is by far the one in a hotel lobby, where Ryan is presented with a crying twenty-something and, for all his worldly knowledge, has no idea what to do with her.
I loved the snappy sequencing of the first half of the film. Ryan is travelling, first on his own and then with Natalie, and we are presented with aerial views and the names of the cities he visits, we see him ultra efficient in airports as he swipes his frequent flyer card and passes through security without even thinking about whether he needs to take his shows off or not. This sequencing really helps to illustrate the nature of Ryan's life, and showcases what is important to him. When Natalie arrives on the scene, the sequencing is disrupted, like Ryan's life - we see him at the airport, same as before, swiping his card and checking in, and then he sees Natalie dragging a huge and squeaky wheeled suitcase, which is the complete opposite to Ryan's light luggage.
Later on the action slows down, and I felt the film became a little sluggish, as Ryan returned to Milwaukee with Alex for his sister's wedding. But again the pacing illustrates life there - it is a slower pace and a different way of life to what we saw with Ryan on his own, and so the film style shows this.
It may seem like a fairly gentle film but there is a twist, which took me completely by surprise. If I'd thought about it, maybe it wouldn't have, but it hadn't even occurred to me - which is probably a good sign that I was just so absorbed in the film as it went along that I didn't think about what would happen.
I really enjoyed Up In The Air. I wouldn't call it groundbreaking, but it's different enough as to make for really enjoyable viewing, the acting is good and it has funny moments.
Ryan Bingham's (George Clooney) career is focused on travelling across America by plane to 'let people go' from their jobs. It's a job that he loves, especially the travelling aspect where he lives out of his suitcase and is only 'home' 43 days a year.
One day he starts talking to another business woman - Alex who he ends up with in his hotel room. They do their best to arrange to meet up whenever possible, maintaining a casual relationship and having fun.
Ryan has a dream to reach 10 million air miles, which is put in jeopardy when Ryan's boss hires a new graduate Natalie (Anna Kendrick) who has set up a system of video conferencing to fire people online.
In a bid for Ryan to keep his travelling around America to fire employees method, he insists that Natalie accompanies him on the road to see the importance of firing people face to face rather than a more impersonal approach via video conferencing.
Ryan has lived his life believing that people don't need a home or relationships. You can never get lonely if you are surrounded by people (even strangers). He begins to fall for Alex and is devestated to find out that she is married with children.
I was a little disappointed with the film if I'm honest. It was good but I'm glad I didn't pay the £7.50 at the cinema to see it. Anna Kendrick does steal the show providing the necessary humour to keep the film a bit more lighthearted. I don't reach have much opinion on George Clooney in general. He played his role well, with the occasional funny line such as 'I stereotype... it's faster' but his acting didn't blow me away.
The trailor made the film seem quite funny but in reality the storyline was not as comedic as I had hoped for
I have always been a bit of a George Clooney fan, so when I heard that he had moved away from the alternative weirdness of Solaris and Michael Clayton, I hoped for a return of twinkly, sexy Dr Doug. I was not disappointed, but Up in the Air goes much deeper than an average romcom; this film is one that leaves you contemplating the loneliness of old age, and the implications of pursuing personal freedom.
Ryan Bingham is a smooth and sophisticated businessman in his mid 40s, who spends over 300 days a year travelling the States to do the dirty work of big corporate bosses; he tells loyal and long-serving staff members that they are being fired, and in doing this takes the nastiness away from the employers who are doing the downsizing. At the centre of his devil-may-care lifestyle is his own philosophy on life, as delivered in seminars across the States. His 'What's In Your Backpack' speeches encourage the audience to put everything they own or care about into the backpack, to feel the burden of it all, and then to cast themselves free. So Ryan lives his life; without real friends, without a partner, without a real home, and putting all of his possessions into one small piece of wheeled luggage, he feels that he has achieved true freedom - a modern life without worries or ties.
After many years of leading what he believes is the perfect lifestyle, two women enter his life to make him reconsider. Natalie is the young and hardnosed new recruit, who has persuaded Ryan's bosses that his job could be done with much more efficiency by using new technology. Instead of allowing Ryan to travel the continent to deliver bad news, the news can now be transmitted via a video link. To try to make her see the necessity of the personal touch in these matters, Ryan takes her on the road with him to show her the human side of redundancy. At the same time, Ryan meets a kindred spirit; Alex is another constant traveller. Beautiful, sexy and at home in the world of hotel rooms and conference rooms, she seems to be the female equivalent of Ryan, and they start an affair. However, Ryan's encounter with these women will start to change everything he believes in and look at his life in a very different light.
This film was a very pleasant surprise for me. Expecting an average romcom, I was delighted to find that the writer / director, Jason Reitman, has disguised a dark and meaningful film behind the Hollywood gloss of a road movie. Reitman's most famous film to date was the quirky and engaging Juno, and the same offbeat sense of humour and unexpected storyline are apparent here, but with a good deal more sophistication and expertise. The humour is there, and the viewer does laugh out loud on occasion - but the difference is apparent after the film is over, and you find yourself reflecting on the meaning and message.
George Clooney is back to his matinee idol best, with a very convincing performance that has a lot of depth. The two female leads, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick, turn the film into a much more intimate affair, bouncing off Clooney's performance with an expertise that keeps the pace of the film constantly racing ahead. The film revolves around the relationship between the three main characters, giving the feel of a play or a set theatre piece. The characterisation is excellent, and is at the end of the day what makes this film special, with a thoughtfulness and depth which gives some painful topics just the right hint of comedy to make entertaining viewing.
Up in the Air received 6 Golden Globe nominations, 5 BAFTA nominations and 6 Academy Award nominations, It won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for Best Screenplay.
Up in the Air was released on dvd in 2010. It is rated a 15.
I saw this at the cinema with a close friend who usually has quite different film tastes. To my surprise we both really enjoyed it!
Basic idea is that George Clooney has a job firing other people from their jobs. He goes around the country visiting companies, making people redundant and then flying off again. Cue the entry of the young women who is there to change his nature! The chemistry between actors is great and it manages to be funny, quirky and really quite sad without going over board. In addition the contrast between to the two main females characters really works: older versus young, experience versus naivity, power versus innocence.
I liked the end. Don't want to spoil it but it provoked a lot of discussion and made us both think.
I saw it again on DVD the other day and did really enjoy it. However, it probably isn't going to make it onto my list of films I could watch over and over again.
Up in the Air may seem a bit of an odd choice of film to watch as a young lad and I can't even blame the decision to watch it on my wife! I've always had a fondness for films with George Clooney in, he comes across as a charismatic chap and his onscreen presence is pretty strong.
This is a clever little film with nice cinematography, good acting, a rather unique script and some intriguing acoustic tracks as a soundtrack. It's the kind of film that symbolises numerous things which are relative to the modern era and I'm not surprised to see that it attracted critical praise and Oscar nominations.
The film itself features three strong characters in the leading roles, Richard Bingham (George Clooney) a middle aged travelling business man who moves from town to town firing people during a bad time economically, pushy and confident newcomer Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) an unlikeable character really who despite her great ideas is still a little naive but who is actually well-meaning. The third character has a large influence on the plot and acts as Bingham's love interest, the mischevious female version of Bingham - Alex (Vera Farmiga)
You get a strong feeling for the battle between technology and more prime instincts but Clooney's freedom of travelling from city to city is ironically fuelled by technology itself - flights, club card points and fancy hotels. Although he's happy to look down his nose at it when it threatens his own job. The film is full of irony as the man who fires people is being put out of the line of work in which he loves.
I did however found the ending a bit of a letdown, I enjoyed the film whilst it was character building but once Clooney was depressed and pondering his own life, I felt it lost a bit of its zeal. Films like this aren't designed to flow so smoothly though, had the ending been any different I suppose it would have lost its meaning.
Not the most amazing film but still likeable, I'm struggling to give it more than a 3 but there will be people out there who will love it and I do think it's rather interesting and a bit different.
Rated - R
Directed by Jason Rietman
Suited - Adults
Alex Goran: I am the woman that you don't have to worry about.
Ryan Bingham: Sounds like a trap.
Up in the Air is a classy grown up movie, make no mistake, acting, writing and cinematography all comfortably in Oscar territory, exactly why it earnt six nominations. It's so refreshing to watch a hyped up movie that actually lives up to that hype, probably why it didn't win any of those Oscars (he snarls cynically), star George Clooney always charismatic on the big screen and worth the entrance fee. He's one of the very few modern actors out there that can carry any movie and perhaps the only true movie icon in that early suave cinema leading man style left in cinema. If you looked at a black and white negative of him he could be anyone from Jimmy Stewart to Montgomery Clift, one of those actors who can make the girls go weak at the knees just by lighting a cigarette.
Up in the Air is definitely a film about female emancipation, but also about a world shrinking around us as globalisation and technology begins to pull us all uncomfortably close together and so into each others personal space, cyber and the physical, computers taking over from robots as the next generation of mass mechanisation to put us all out of work one day soon, stripping away the last of men's emasculation that makes us attractive to women, real men becoming redundant, heavy lifting not involved with keyboards and power point presentations.
The premise of the film is an interesting one, here George Clooney's rather smug character seeking out an escape from that claustrophobia by surrendering to the commute and routine of his job and cocooning himself in that hidden freedom, fighting against a world increasingly run by microchips, microchips that ironically smooth his passage through it, the personal touch his angle. By accruing as many air miles as possible in his job he can stay up in the air and so detach himself from that world and live by his rules.
Ryan Bingham: You know why kids love athletes?
Bob: Because they screw lingerie models?
Ryan Bingham: No, that's why we love athletes. Kids love them because they follow their dreams
George Clooney ... Ryan Bingham
Vera Farmiga ... Alex Goran
Anna Kendrick ... Natalie Keener
Jason Bateman ... Craig Gregory
Amy Morton ... Kara Bingham
Melanie Lynskey ... Julie Bingham
J.K. Simmons ... Bob
Sam Elliott ... Maynard Finch
Danny McBride ... Jim Miller
40 something Ryan Bingham (Clooney), sharp-suited and clean shaven, is a hatchet man, criss-crossing America to fire people on behalf of bosses who don't have the time or bottle to do it, business very good as America slides into its worst recession since the war. Ryan loves his job and especially the living out of a suitcase lifestyle, spending just 43 days of the year at his rented flat, a loner in every way. His only goal in life is to earn ten million air miles with American Airlines, something that only six people on the planet have ever done, he the youngest if he can become the seventh, all manner of almost mythical VIP American Airlines luxuries afforded to him if he does. In between his any trips in planes and hire cars he is also a motivational speaker, willing to spread his ideology of the world to others for a small fee.
But his veneer is about to weaken when he meets intelligent and sexy business woman Alex (Vera Farmiga) in yet another airport bar, she too living out of a suitcase and a kindred spirit, the two instantly click and soon jumping in the sack, so beginning a relationship of sorts, one that begins to erode his core defences of being non committal to anything but his job.
So enter Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick), a chirpy young upstart from Bingham's company that has some new ideas to try out, no one immune from downsizing and change in this particular downturn. Her plan is 'Glocal', global going local, stopping the hatchet men flying to the employers and doing it all online instead, an immediate threat to Bingham's swipe card lifestyle of hotels and airline club lounges, but great cost saving by Natalie. Furthermore he is tasked by his boss (Jason Bateman) to take her out on the road - and in the air - to road test the plan. But there's a reason why Bingham is good at his job and cant easily be replaced by a machine, this job all about the personal touch, what Bingham has spades, but the irony being the very same disconnect he has with the outside world. And when he is invited to attend a family wedding it may well be the time to surrender his quest for 10 million miles and confess his feelings to Alex, a woman that knows all about role reversal.
Ryan Bingham: [on getting through airport security] "Never get behind old people. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left. Bingo, Asians. They pack light, travel efficiently, and they have a thing for slip on shoes. Gotta love 'em".
Natalie Keener: That's racist.
Ryan Bingham: I'm like my mother, I stereotype. It's faster.
Although this film 'cops out' of the obvious grown up ending, it preserves to make its real point that we are all indispensable in our jobs and lives, an entertainingly intelligent narrative cut like a new suit in Hong Kong, fitting snugly in all the right parts.
Clooney is excellent as ever as the handsome and sophisticated corporate axe man and the chemistry good with Farminga, the modern woman that can have her cake and eat it role perfect for her.
For directing partnership of Jason and Ivan Reitman this was also a big success, one of only two father/son producing teams to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. The other is Mario Cecchi Gori and Vittorio Cecchi Gori for the superb 'Il postino' from 1994. And on that same Oscar theme, rather quirkily, in 2010, George Clooney, who played Ryan Bingham here was nominated for an Oscar for an 'Actor in the Leading Role', whereas a real Ryan Bingham won an Oscar for the song "The Weary Kind" he wrote together with T-Bone Burnett that featured in Crazy Heart at the same ceremony.
There's a lot going on in this film, none more so than around its comment on modern America, those that were told to skill up in the 80s and early 90s now the employees getting canned. We are running out of things we can do in the west cheaply and there are too many transient cheap workers to fill those jobs. Mass unemployment has now become deflationary because it creates the only growing sector of new jobs out there, public service ones, a critical part of any thriving western economy.
This film wont appeal to many people under 30 as its about the neurosis of being 40 and the fear those older experienced workers have of the young energetic ones coming up to take their jobs, as they were once. Like it or not but the moment you join a company they are trying to fire you, productivity the name of the game. At least the movie industry will keep plugging on and making thoughtful and stylish traditional movies like this.
Imdb.com - 7.9 out of 10 (53,771 votes)
Rotten Tomato's 90%
Natalie Keener: How about just not dying alone?
Ryan Bingham: Starting when I was 12, we moved each one of my grandparents into a nursing facility. My parents went the same way. Make no mistake, we all die alone. Now those cult members in San Diego, with the sneakers and the Kool-Aid, they didn't die alone. I'm just saying there are options.
= = = = Special Features = = = =
Jason Rietman talks about his film
-Shadow Play: Before the Story-
A quick and pointless behind the scenes
Up in the Air-directed by criticially acclaimed Jason Reitman(Juno,Thank You For Smoking) stars George Clooney,Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick. I had wanted to see this for long,and the recent nominations at oscars only fuelled my wishes further!
Ryan Bingham works for an institution that lends out service to other organizations to fire their stuff! His job keeps him away from home,and Ryan can always be found travelling around US in flights,hence the name 'Up in the air'. Ryan meets Alex,who leads a similar life,gets involved in a casual relationship.There's also Natalie,a young colleague who is trying to find her feet in the business.
The basic plot is amusing,and very original.I have never heard/seen anything like it before. But beneath the basic plot,the deeper meaning stays close to human emotions,the feeling of being isolated from your family,the realisation,how it dooms into one person.Ryan's world is an analogy to the lives of many others in the world right now,who are running in all directions for their jobs,having limited vision for family and people. And once they are slightly older and mature,they realise what really matters in life. Up in the air speaks of a similar story-the coming of age of a 40 plus executive!
The other characters in the film are well written too,Alex as another person in the same category makes him fall in love,little does he know life doesn't always look the way it actually is. Natalie's character as the young executive opens up the viewer's vision.
Performance wise,George Clooney is fabulous. He gets a role that is author backed,a role that gives him scope to show his acting abilities.Up in the air is a must watch,not only because it is hilarious and funny,but because it has a strong soul of its own.
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is a man who goes around the US to fire people. He likes the lifestyle that he leads, getting all the perks of frequently flying around. He has no ties, no real family to speak ok, so when his strangely idyllic lifestyle seemingly appears to come to an end via the interfering Anna Kendrick he tries to adapt. Kendrick has come up with a system of firing people over the net, but first she must follow Clooney around the country and see what his job entails. Along the way Clooney has romantic interludes with Alex (Vera Famiga). Will this be the end of Clooney's frequent flying?
George Clooney was his normal self, so I was a little surprised that he was nominated for best actor. I've seen him in better roles (Burn After Reading comes to mind) and while he was good - there really was nothing in his performance here that is distinctly better than anything else he's been in, even ER! I'm sure he's due an Oscar at some point, I suppose he's like a modern day Cary Grant, so I'm sure his day will come later on down the line.
Much better was Anna Kendrick who plays the young, brash and upfront Natalie Keener. She was really excellent in her role as the young upstart who follows Clooney around the US firing people. She certainly held her own against his performance and even manages to steal a few scenes from him. It's quite surprising then that she didn't win best supporting actress as shes the best female actress I've seen this year. Its also surprising then that she was up against Vera Farmiga who plays Clooney's love interest here. She's a little distant in this role and comes across as a little annoying.
Jason Reitman has directed a pretty good film here. Its a distraction more than anything without being a really GOOD film. Its really amazing that it managed to get so many Oscar nods because it was really quite ordinary. Reitman uses some interesting directorial touches when the plane lands in each city, but nothing better than his dad ever did.
In all, Up In the Air was good, but not great. I would call it the cinematic equivalent of a yawn.
Format - DVD - 'Film Only' Article
Director - Jason Reitman
Writer - Jason Reitman
Shot down by friendly fire
The year is 2010, for those of you just coming out of hibernation, hiding from a thunderous year of financial mayhem, wondering if it is safe to emerge from under the covers. You couldn't think it up, even if you tried. Now after 16 months since the collapse of Lehmann Brothers. Nothing has changed. The economic crisis of last year is still sowing its evil deeds, seeing people out of work, poor, hard working people. All that sound-bite rubbish that promise greater regulation, stability, to save jobs, industries, and the capping on lucrative bonuses; is the biggest load of acid propaganda since the early 1980's. Jobs are peoples' lives and livelihoods, without them the economy suffers, everyone loses out. There is only one winner, and that is the people who sack other people. It is a roaring business. Hop onboard.
Jason Reitman wrote and directed 'Up in the air'; produced with a steel eye for detail and 'no insipid content' to report back with. It is a contender for this years 'best picture'. The film is a maturing analogy from someone wiser than his years, Reitman had achieved what so many wanted at just the correct time, while the global economy was at it's knees. The jobless figures are sky bound, except it is a roaring trade for Ryan Bingham played by George Clooney. He is a professional trouble-shooter who clears dead-wood from corporations, with a sales pitch that camouflages failure with new beginnings and ambitions. He prides himself on his delivery and a humanistic approach. Face to face contact, to make that inner connection to the soul, to soften the blow for the warehouse manager who has toiled many years for his corporation, unearthed management gems for his corporation been faithful, and loyal to his corporation, just to be told he has been sacked by a complete stranger.
Reitman's observations through out these hard times are inspiring for those people who need a voice, who speaks for them via the medium of 'film'. When cuts are a formality and news headlines flirt across the screen just for a few seconds. It is about real peoples lives. RBS has published a 3 Billion Pounds loss, yet 1 Billion Pounds have been handed out at whim to Chief Executives, rewarding people for failure. The real cost comes down to the 'real people' as their jobs are in the balance. Financial infrastructures are undeniable wrong and Reitman addresses the human loss with a subtlety that stretches out and dents the nerves of iron Ryan Bingham as he questions his own life's choices.
Bingham 'lives to work' rather than the contrary. His abode is the airport lounge where he knows the staff by a first-name basis. He has no life outside his work, he lectures on de-clustering responsibilities of life. His approach is dehumanised to human feelings and rebels on any form of emotional commitment such as family, relationships, pets and anything that softens oneself. 'Up In The Air' is a journey that evolves wholly around the lead character Ryan Bingham. The one true passion Bingham has is to hit the 10 million air miles which is a major goal for anybody to accomplish, only a handful of airheads have achieved this accolade, for the accomplishment a bland single gold loyalty card will be issued by the Captain of the plane to the adoring recipient, Bingham is sure to become the youngest ever recipient. Bingham's corporation is also looking at means of cost cutting across the spectrum, not to save jobs but to increase profit margins; a real slice of reality hits you right between the eyes.
Enter Natalie Keener played by Anna Kendrick, a youthful mouse featured up start who voice sounds like a piece of software voice recogniser and walks like an android head mistress with rounded calves, hind and fully equipped padded bra, that inevitably become like pulling out Chinese boxes if ever the opportunity arises; which it didn't not surprisingly. Natalie's vision is to cut employer air-time by introducing a web-cam software package that would mean employees would be fired and read the last rites via the web cam several States away. Bingham reluctantly takes young graduate Natalie under his wing to show how the corporation deals with firing people face to face, so that she can understand the workings of the corporation ethics and packages they offer and provide. In reality, the service they claim to provide dies when the client leaves the room. Reitman's detail to political correctness in the work-place is undeniably astute. Packed with hotel rooms, mini bars and concierge facilities Bingham consumes the lifestyle as he gorges on all inclusive ensuite pleasantries, to the level that David Cameron does along with is Port swilling, red nosed Etonians.
Reitman's cherry on the top, red carpet pleaser for me, was the introduction of siren Alex Goran who was superbly executed by Vera Farmiga. She was the key to unlock many doors and dreams that Bingham had embedded with an encryption that even he had forgotten. Alex was the female version of Ryan. A magnet for any squeaky shoed, chiselled chin slick gent with an eye for the first class arena, and the supplementary being the 'available lady', and I'm being kind here. No signs of any pork scratching crumbs in their boudoir.
At intervals the film slipped in the random text dialogue that emulated what 'Up In The Air' epitomises. It was littered with gadget talk and content that surprised me with some 'funny gaffs' regarding certain groups of people. There was many examples of snap shot good humour and banter that made the picture somewhat more realistic than other films in its social drama genre, helping the picture in getting 6 nominations for Oscars. Its realism is the glue as Bingham is 'Blue Peter'. The audience could see a gradual transition of what Bingham was and what he is becoming; clever character morphing was enlightening to view.
Watch-out for the moving wedding scene when Bingham had to compromise his own views to divulge into emotional positive thinking, for real. Huge credit goes to Clooney as he breathed charisma, assurance, wit and it was perfectly cajoled together thanks to Kendrick's whimsical out bursts that captured the true essence of what Reitman had in mind, a writers dream came true, as did a few young and gifted actors who had the privilege to work alongside Clooney and ride on the gravy train. Reit-man you certainly were.
Please note this is a 'film only' article.
George Clooney has it all sussed, living for his work as he flies across America, hired by spineless bosses to fire their staff. He's constantly on the move, distant from his family and living out of a suitcase. But this is how he likes it, detesting being at home and the intimacies of relationships. But this is thrown into turmoil as he slips into the inevitable trap of falling in love, and the nature of his industry is threatened by the advent of video-conferencing.
Clooney is forced to accept that his current lifestyle is ending, as he tries to demonstrate to a young upstart the benefits of his way of life. Inevitably, he fails, and in turn begins to realise the failings in his own life and the inadequacies in his relationships with his family.
The film is not dissimilar from Alfie, where a promiscuous bachelor suddenly realises what is missing from his life. I must admit that it was not my own personal choice to watch Up In The Air, but was pleasantly surprised to find a romantic comedy that actually managed to amuse. Whilst the storyline may not seem to have much mileage, some excellent scripting makes for a very good watch, although I was still ready to make for the exit long before its climax. That said, Up in the Air is a decent choice for a cosy night with a loved one, as it's a romantic comedy that both parties might actually enjoy!!
This film is described as a comedy. However a comedy to me is to laugh majority the way through it. I think I laughed twice. It stars George clooney who is a rep who travels around the country sacking people on behalf of a company. It shows his life is all travel , then he meets someone who he thinks he could settle with but also the company are trying to use internet based sacking cameras instead and send the girl who designed it out with him on the travels. There is a few laughs..when it shows them going out to a party and getting drunk. That was the most funniest part in this film. However George in the end finds the women is married so it isnt really a happy ending. I walked out of this film thinking it was ok but it was not worthy of the golden globe it had just won or the possible oscar.