Thursday, 14 January 2010

Up In The Air - Review

I often wonder and wondered once again when I first sat down to watch Up In The Air, does George Clooney actually act anymore? Brought to us by the director Jason Reitman (yes Ghostbusters fans, the son of Ivan), who boosts a solid record of the grossly under-rated Thank You For Smoking and the widely acclaimed Juno. Dear old Ivan better watch his back because his boy is gaining speed at matching or even surpassing his success.

Up in the Air, based on the 2001 book by Walter Kirn, tells the tale of a corporate downsizer (Clooney) and his travels. It follows his isolated life and philosophies along with the people that he meets along the way.

Having never read the book I'm not sure how accurate the adaptation is, but it was truly remarkable how relevent the role of Clooney was in the film, and his morally grey profession. Seriously, could you imagine being 'that guy' and doing what he does in these financially uncertain times? That said if I was going to be fired by a person I've never met, Clooney would probably be in my top 10 of men to do it. As always he manages to bring that suave, sophisticated, charisma to the character of Ryan.

His performance managed to sum up everything that is good about Clooney as an actor, the aforementioned charisma of someone every woman wants, and every man wants to be. That was 'the good', 'the amazing' was that he managed to add an extra level of depth to his natural attributes of a conflicted man - lonely, disconnected, obssesively career driven. A modern day equivalent of Mad Men's Don Draper.

The strong, confident supporting performances of the female leads were equally a pleasure to watch, the classy elegant Vera Farmiga was the perfect companion to Clooney, and their on screen chemistry in the more intimate moments brought a genuine smile to my face. Before watching UITA I did not know a big lot about young Anna Kendrick (besides being Kirsten Stewart's annoying chum in Twilight), but her performance was the true breakthrough of the entire feature as the smart, tightly wound, Natalie. Never shying away from the screen in the midst of the more experienced Clooney and Farmiga her character's journey was an extremely heart-warming whirlwind that made the entire viewing worth it.

The music and all round style of the film reminded me of the 2009 film Away We Go, from the folky soundtrack featuring a host of singer song writers to the city hopping dashes in the narrative, with the name of the city brought up in huge bold lettering. It almost harks of a film from a director at the height of the 1960s, making style and beauty look and feel completely effortless.

Final Thoughts
It requires zero effort to enjoy this film, sit back and enjoy a wonderful, hilarious, uplifting comedy with enough drama, plot twists and heart wrenching moments that may even cause a few members of the audience to shed a tear. George Clooney has made a lot of brilliant films during his time, but it is only now that he has managed to pull of his career defining performance, that sums up everything that makes him one of the biggest film stars in the world. Brilliant cast, writing and directing. I wait with much anticipation for what young Jason Reitman does next...


See This If You Like...
Thank You For Smoking, Juno, Mad Men, Away We Go.

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