Sunday, December 06, 2009
Up In The Air
George Clooney is perfectly cast in this new comedy/drama from director Jason Reitman. His character, Ryan Bingham, is a corporate "terminator for hire" sent in to fire employees when companies can't do it themselves. He spends the majority of his life on planes, in airports, and Hilton Hotels jetting from city to city to downsize corporations.
Ryan's lifestyle is threatened by Natalie Keener, a young upstart with plans to fire via the internet and he is forced to take her on the road to "show her the ropes". This begins a journey of self examination by both Ryan and Natalie, which is further complicated when Ryan meets Alex Goran, a female equivalent of himself.
Anna Kendrick plays Natalie and she is just terrific, watching her character deepen as the story evolves. Vera Farmiga plays Alex and she plays beautifully against Mr. Clooney. In minor roles are Justin Bateman, as Mr. Clooney's boss, J.K. Simmons and Zach Galifianakis as downsized employees, and Danny McBride as a nervous bridegroom.
It's an entertaining film but, at the same time, depressing to those of us who have been "downsized" in real life. Mr. Reitman acknowledges the terminated by having real people play many of the employees fired in the film. The story itself takes some unexpected twists and turns but has much to say about corporate America in our current climate and the digital age.