EXPECTATIONS: Jason Reitman wrote and directed Thank You for Smoking which was a pretty decent film, so this should be good. Up In The Air has also won a bunch of awards, and will probably win much more, which means I’ll either really like it, or it will all be a bit too obvious and over the top to stomach.
REALITY: This is probably the best role George Clooney has been cast for. It’s not that he gives some kind of outstanding performance or anything; the role just feels like it has been written for him. Clooney plays Ryan Bingham. Bingham is hired by different companies to fire people. He lives on the road and is in love with his routine. His character is set up very well and very quickly in the opening scenes. Bingham’s world is shaken up when young Natalie (Anna Kendrick) introduces a cheaper, more efficient way to fire people; using webcams. Bingham takes Natalie on the road to show her how it’s done properly and the back and forth between the two of them is really funny. It was great to see Kendrick, a relative unknown, act against a Hollywood giant and hold her own.
The plot almost falls into regular rom/com/drama territory, but it never does. One of the strengths of the film is that all the people we see getting fired (other than J.K.Simmons) are real people who lost their jobs in the recent economic downturn; their stories and their emotion are real. Pitting this alongside a character who is slowly realising what it is he has lost makes for a great film, and it’s not all super serious either. I laughed a fair bit throughout. This is probably one worth rewatching.****