Movie Review: Up in the Air (2009)

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Flying, something that we humans can’t naturally do, but for some reason really want to be able to do. So that’s why we place ourselves and other people in giant hunks of metal that can miraculously get into the air.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s fly… “Up in the Air”.

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is man who works as a corporate downsizing expert, which really is just a fancy way of saying that he fires people for the bosses at their places of employment so that they themselves don’t have to get their hands dirty. And with this comes a good amount of perks, including getting to fly for free(ish) all over the country. He really loves the lifestyle of not really having a home and having to give too much of a damn. However, all of this takes a bit of a turn when he meets Alex (Vera Farmiga), a woman whom he starts a bit of a “casual” relationship with, but it might possibly be going a little further than “casual”. Ryan’s world also gets a little shaken up when he has to take a young, new co-worker (Anna Kendrick) under his wing (plane pun, ladies and gents). Let me tell you this: The marketing for the movie makes it look like your typical romantic comedy, but it really isn’t. I would really describe the movie as a character study of a man who loves to be free, not having to be settled down. And if you go into the movie knowing that, then I think you might enjoy it. And I think that is something that makes the plot of the movie so much better. I was invested in the plot, I really wanted to see what was gonan happen next in Ryan’s life. It was funny, dramatic, heartfelt, and actually a little bittersweet. Yes, there’s romance in the movie… but that’s not techincally the main focus of it all.

The characters in this movie are all pretty great. They are all pretty damn flawed and that really helps make them compelling. George Clooney honestly knocks it out of the park as Ryan Bingham, perfectly playing this man who really doesn’t want anything to do with love or marriage or anything like that. Keep in mind, he isn’t an asshole… he just does his job… while also being a little bit of a jerk. Vera Farmiga is great in her role, playing this woman who comes into Bingham’s life and adds a little something to it. Anna Kendrick as the young woman who works with Bingham to learn the job, she’s really good. I haven’t really seen her in anything that made me go “Fuck yes, Anna Kendrick!”. She’s never been bad, but she’s also never really impressed me in any way. But I gotta say that she did a really good job here. As for the rest of the supporting cast… Yeah, it was great. There are a lot of pretty big names within the supporting cast, but none of them get a particularly big role. Biggest of them might be Jason Bateman who plays Bingham’s boss/co-worker, but even then he has a relatively small role. Most actors in this movie only get like one pretty small scene each… but god damn, are those scenes well acted!

The score for the movie was composed by Rolfe Kent and while it wasn’t used too much in the movie, it was really good. It helped elevate the few scenes it was used in. What happened though was that a lot of scenes had licensed tracks by various artists. But that’s okay because the music choices in the movie were pretty great and perfectly worked within the scenes they were used in.

This movie was directed by Jason Reitman, who also made “Juno” and “Thank You For Smoking”, the latter of which being one of my favorie comedies ever. With that said, this movie isn’t a straight-up comedy. This is a drama with comedic bits every now and then. The jokes that are in the movie are really funny, especially a few early on that are pretty dark. But as you probably know by now, I love dark humor. But as for the directing itself, which I should have mentioned first before the genre stuff… yeah, it’s really good. It’s a very well directed movie even if it doesn’t do anything too special in that area. The writing on the other hand… fucking great stuff, I tell ya.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Clooney), Best Supporting Actress (Farmiga), Best Supporting Actress (Kendrick), Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Up in the Air” is quite a surprisingly great movie. It has an interesting story, great characters, great acting, great music, really good directing, and great writing. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Up in the Air” is a 9,87/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Up in the Air” is now completed.

And we’re flying through the night away
Far far away
And we’ll fing a place we’d like to stay
Far far away

 

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