Lori and I went to see Up in The Air last Friday night on a snowy wintery eve in downtown Fargo. We like going to that theater because its an old main street style theater that has been restored and so its just fun to go from time to time. They used to only show the real artsy fartsy err . . . uh . . . I mean, independent films and admittedly we've seen some good movies there in the past couple of years. However, recently the Fargo Theater has been showing some main stream popular first run movies as well so we may see more films there in the future.
So . . . the movie . . . it starred George Clooney as Ryan Bingham a corporate downsizer who travels from business to business as the employee hitman for the corporate bosses who are too chicken to fire or let go their own workers. We follow his life on the road - except for Ryan Bingham his road is thirty-six thousand feet in the air flying from coast to coast and parts in between to help various white collar workers transition out of their current jobs and into the hellish oblivion which is the unemployed. (A real movie of our times, eh kiddies?) Kinda like the Boatman on the river Styx of Corporate America. I thought George Clooney played the part well with the right mix of personal detachment to others (How could you NOT be detached as a person when you spend your days telling people they just lost their jobs. Yeesh! ) and denial of the haunting loneliness in the life he lives.
Along with George Clooney was Vera Farmiga playing Alex Goran, a late thirties corporate business woman who, like Clooney, travels extensively for her work, and Anna Kendrick, who played Natalie Keener, a young 23 yr old hot shot hired by Jason Bateman as Craig Gregory, owner of Career Transition Counseling and Ryan's boss, to try to improve the way Ryan and the other "terminators" of CTC do business.
Both women play their roles quite well with Vera Farmiga being the jaded corporate business woman and Anna Kendrick oozing the perky and all knowingness of a young twentysomething with all the answers but who doesn't even know the important questions. (Yeah, we were all like that back in the day)
Ryan's relationship with both of these woman causes him to really examine the life he leads though they both challenge him in totally different ways. Though some of the plot was pretty predictable and formulaic, there were some nice surprises and character discoveries and definitely some of Clooney's best work yet. And kudos to the direction and cinematography as it was very well done throughout. My rating is a four out of five movie reels: