Up In The Air
Have you ever been fired? Or been the one who has to fire someone? It’s not a pleasant task to have to perform, but for Ryan Bingham (Clooney) it is his job. Bingham works for a company that is contracted by other large companies to handle their downsizing and restructuring needs. In other words they provide the office and the list and Ryan Bingham breaks the news to those whose services are no longer required. This job takes him all over America and therefore leads to his life “Up in the Air”. Ryan lives out of a small suitcase, in hotels, airports and of course on airplanes all over the US.
He has perfected the compressing of his life into one small carry on overnight bag and a wallet full of Airline, Accommodation and Restaurant loyalty cards. On an emotional level he has compressed his life to a philosophy called “What’s in your backpack?” which he runs seminars on as he travels around.
His philosophy calls for the streamlining of your life in regards to assets and family, so that you have no ties holding you back from doing what you want. This is a philosophy that makes perfect sense when you don’t have anything that you are emotionally connected to, other than your work. This is Ryan Bingham. Of course as the story unfurls, Bingham falls for a fellow traveler and is challenged in his thoughts and value system.
“Up in the Air” flows beautifully along at a wonderful pace as you connect with the characters in this very realistic story of figuring out exactly who you are and what you need. I found myself laughing hysterically at times and feeling extremely uncomfortable in some of the scenes of people being fired. There was a very real quality to the firing scenes that drew you in to the pain of being told that you were no longer needed and your source of income was being ripped away from you.
One of the key questions that this film raises is “How important is real and authentic person contact?” This comes out not only in the emotional journey of Ryan Bingham but also in the company moving towards a system of firing people via webcam. An idea that only sounds good to accountants, when they see the savings from taking the workers off the road and keeping them in the office. To the rest of us this looks like a painfully stupid idea, after all losing your job must rank as one of the most stressful times in your life.
“Up in the Air” is a wonderfully funny and emotionally challenging tale that once again shows Clooney’s brilliant ability to connect the audience with his characters in a way that lots of actors lack.
Release date: June 17th, 2010
Stars: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Supported Audio: Dolby Digital Surround 5.1
Director: Reitman, Jason
Studio: Paramount Pictures