Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Up In The Air and the Art of Bad Luck

Last night, my wife and I watched Up in the Air on Blu-Ray and I can see why it was nominated for best picture of the year. The film centers on corporate layoff specialist Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a man who considers his home to be the first class section of his preferred Airline and whatever hotel he happens to be enjoying with the highest degree of amenities and that provides him with the largest amount of miles on his card. In his spare time, which is relatively small, he schedules in his motivational speaking seminars for his philosophy of having little worldly and human connections. He prides himself on having a not-so-full backpack and nothing to tie him down as he travels from city to city delivering the oftentimes devastating news to the employees of companies that do not have the backbone to deliver themselves (one of the best scenes of this is the one involving J.K. Simmons, one of my favorite actors.) Bingham's life seems to be flowing perfectly: a job he loves, a certain detachment from humanity, no possessions, and miles...oh so many miles. That is until he meets the lovely Alex ( played by Vera Farmiga), who seems to be the female version of himself, and the young fresh-out-of-college Natalie (played by Anna Kendrick), who brings to Bingham's boss (portrayed by Jason Bateman, another favorite of mine) some new ideas that threaten to ground all of the corporate layoff contractors in favor of an electronic remote firing system. A great and thought provoking film by Jason Reitman, who brought Juno and Thank You For Smoking.

*A side note that I had heard on NPR a while back is that many of the various scenes involving people reacting to being laid off were from people that had actually lost their jobs, which hit a little too close for home for me.
Up in the Air [Blu-ray]

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