Up in the Air 15 (2009)
Dir: Jason Reitman; Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick
The only reason I went to see this film was to finally visit the Cottage Road Cinema, one of the oldest cinemas in the country, showing films since 1912. As much as I’m not really into their programme, I appreciate that they offer what your local cinema used to – mainstream crowd-pleasers, not too taxing on the mind – and if the entertainment is woeful at least you can switch off and start thinking about your surroundings and all the classics that have graced the screen.
Up in the Air is not a classic, thus the cinema reminiscences came in very handy, and I’m absolutely gob smacked that it’s up for an Oscar. Applauded for capturing the mood of the zeitgeist, which I can only assume means an increasing fear of life becoming detached from intimate relationships and an over-reliance on technology to do our bidding, it follows the story of Ryan Bingham (Clooney), a smooth-talking high flyer who travels around America 52 weeks of the year firing people. To cut a long, arduous story short, a young ‘go-getter’ (never a more horrible phrase existed), Natalie (Kendrick), comes up with the idea of firing people via webcam, thus meaning Ryan might have to face up to a life not Up in the Air, but first he takes her out in the field to show her how it’s done, develops a relationship with an irritating woman called Alex (Farmiga), everybody learns some valuable life lessons, and Ryan gets to keep flying anyway.
It moves awkwardly between an attempt at satire and Hollywood sentimentality, the message being too overly rammed down our throats to come off as anything remotely clever. I laughed twice – some of the dialogue is relatively entertaining, but at times this made it feel like it was trying to be a cool, indie flick when it’s clearly not. Let me end by saying I enjoyed it less than Avatar – which is really saying something.