STR Reviews Up In The Air

Jan 14, 10 STR Reviews Up In The Air
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Critics have been raving about how Up In The Air is destined to become a film classic.  Directed by Jason Reitman and starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga, the movie tells the story of Ryan Bingham who travels around the country to different companies and lays off employees for cowardly bosses.  In this world, even firing has been outsourced.

Ryan lives a comfortable existence devoid of any real or meaningful human companionship.  He hates being home in Omaha, and relishes the freedom and anonymity of constant travel.  Bingham’s only goal is to achieve 10,000,000 frequent flier miles, a feat achieved by only seven people.

Ultimately, two people enter into Ryan’s life and challenge his views about living a life free of commitments.  The scenes where Ryan and his associate actually fire people are harrowing, but are undercut by the breezy overtone of the rest of the movie.  The relationship between Clooney and Farmiga is so wonderful to watch, Clooney is so affective and charming an actor that you find yourself strangely disaffected by the real world carnage that occurs when they are not meeting cute.

Critics have been praising the film’s timeliness and the way it addresses modern American life.  Unfortunately, I find the movie far too smug.  Although Reitman attempts to inject some pathos into the proceedings, the movie itself smacks of prepackaged, too-cute-by-half Oscar bait that goes down way too easily.  Think Forest Gump.  Critics arguing for the film as a time-capsule are out of touch with the general fear and malaise that has gripped our society.  Clooney’s character arc is not enough to make us forget about the pain he has left in his wake.  His redemption cannot save our society.  Those connections he craves are the ones that other people are fighting to save in the face of a world that has chewed them up and spit them out.

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