Up In The Air (2009)

At a glance:
Commitment-phobia never looked sexier than when skirt-chasin extraordinaire George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, the cocksure, jet-settin elitist who spends all his time flyin, as the movie title suggests. For a drama with many depressive elements, Up In The Air is surprisingly just as upliftin as it sounds, as Thank You For Not Smoking and Juno director Jason Reitman predictably followed up those two thematically similar films with this one. No surprise then that it's in the runnin for Best Pic at the 82nd Oscars. Adapted off the 2001 Walter Kirn novel of the same name, we follow the globe-trottin Mr Bingham as he travels from city to city to fire people as a specialist consultant hired by bosses too gutless to drop the axe face-to-face when downsizin companies. He may call it 'career transition counsellin' but make no mistake, it's a dirty job of having to tell people they've lost their jobs. The story is enriched by his chance meet with an equally self-centred traveller who becomes his romantic interest (Alex Goran played by a delectable Vera Farmiga, The Departed) and also the introduction of a young, overly-idealistic, go-gettin colleague (Natalie Keener played by Anna Kendrick, Jessica in the Twilight movies) who has persuaded the boss (Jason Bateman) to try out a new semi-confrontational video conferencin method of firin people.
Most memorable line:
Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans... We are not swans. We are sharks.
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Four stars. A refreshin, cynical take on our name brand society. It's only natural that Americans in particular warm up to this picture all too easily. While it isn't a morally punishin film, it is one with clear and sharp ideas on lifestyle choices and their correspondin consequences, with some very interestin scenes that play on a more sociological wide angle rather than a private behavioural breakdown. Followin the character arc of the very dislikeable Ryan Bingham is an engrossin prospect, as his values are tested and he even has the option of redemption. The film finishes strong and leaves you as a rather intimate, though wordy movie that entertains and rewards nevertheless. Very strong performances by the main cast will go some way to make this a worthy Best Picture contender.
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