Up in the Air (US, 2009)

What goes up...

It’s certainly going beyond stretching a point to say this movie is about unemployment but at least the reality for many people, after the bankers have blown the money, is alluded to in this film. And even if the ‘great unwashed’ are used, at the end, to verify the authenticity of family life, at least the film peeks into the horror of losing your job. However as it’s – in essence – a romantic comedy, we shouldn’t expect too much subversion; it’s certainly not screwball. That said, it does retain its indie status by refusing too gushing an ending, though many commentators have been critical of the last 15 minutes.

I don’t understand why Clooney’s up for an Oscar for this, excellent as he is particularly in the scene when his would-be lover describes him as a parenthesis. The role’s  written for his particular ooze of charm. We need to see more of Vera Farmiga, who describes herself as the same as Clooney’s character (Ryan Bingham) except ‘with a vagina’, and Anna Kendrick’s gauche knowitall is pitch perfect. Particularly affecting is the scene where the older couple offer advice to the disappointed in love Kendrick.

Reitman uses locations well, with some terrific overhead shots, and the editing of case packing is as incisive as Bingham’s efficiency. Great soundtrack too.

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