Sunday, February 21, 2010

Up in the Air

Up in the air is so much more than just a film. It is a reflection of the modern day society we live in. It is a realization of how inhumane and cold we’ve become under the pretext of being progressive, practical and professional. The film aptly uses irony to bring to our notice where the rat race and herd mentality can lead us to. Up in the Air is a film that defines the kind of people we’ve become today... how numb we have become towards our surroundings and thus the people surrounding us! It questions our philosophies and relationships in life in the wake of the current economic crunch.

Up in the Air is by far the most relevant film ever made on ‘life’ as we see it today.

Filmmaker Jason Reitman gives you a dose of reality by making you analyse your life through the eyes of Ryan Bingham (Clooney), a man on the move who believes in travelling light. Ryan is a man whom companies hire to fire their people because their bosses have no courage to do it. Ryan fires other people for a living but believes he does it with dignity. When Ryan is not depriving people of their jobs, he becomes a guest speaker and gives motivational speeches on ‘empty backpack’ to corporates.

Reitman impressively uses Ryan’s ‘empty backpack’ as a metaphor which deciphers Ryan’s real life, isolated from people and any kind of attachment to anything. Ryan although has no complaints. He enjoys his high-flying lifestyle until he gets confronted by two women... his fellow flier Alex (Vera Farmiga) and youngster Anna Kendrick. Anna suggests firing people online in order to cut travelling costs of employees like Ryan while Alex’s opinion of Ryan makes him question his philosophy on love and commitment...

Based on the 2001 Walter Kirn novel of the same name, Up in the Air is a poignant tale on people, their beliefs and the choices they make. What makes this film stand out is its superb execution. The filmmaker uses comedy to bring out the most harsh tragedy of life (read, Anna’s beau dumps her through a text message which she finds horrible, but doesn’t realize how bad firing people online could be!).

Unlike most romcoms, the film does not show Ryan as someone forced to live an isolated life. He is not a victim of dire circumstances or traumatised past. He is what he is and he does it by choice and in fact enjoys his lonely life until he falls in love...

Having showcased downsizing in the most satirical way possible, Up in the Air, with its witty one-liners, belongs to a league of its own. The screenplay has the punch and potential to move you and provoke you to self analyze your life without being apologetic in its approach.

It won’t be surprising if George Clooney bags the Oscar for this one. He plays the charming, philandering and detached Ryan with equal ease as he does the man who questions his beliefs in the latter half of the film. He is restrained and lets his eyes speak a thousand words in most of the crucial scenes, making your heart reach out to him. Even at 40 Clooney remains gorgeous. His smirk, flirtatious eyes and sexy baritone leaves the ladies begging for more.

Up in the Air is a must watch... real life, real people, real circumstances weren’t captured better on reel screen before.

Cast: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
Director: Jason Reitman
Genre: Drama/ Comedy

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