“Up in the air”, released in 2009, is a movie filled with comical and dramatic episodes. This film adaptation of the novel “Up in the air” written by Waler Kirn was directed by Jason Reitman. The film depicts an isolated life that Ryan Bingham, which is a leading character of the motion picture, and some of the people he meets during his multiple travels live. Ryan spends most of his time in the skies due to his unwonted job, which consists in firing employees all over the world (Murray). This paper will review the movie by answering the review questions.
The main theme of the movie “Up in the Air” is the examination of philosophy. It is about deciding to live alone, tête-à-tête with absolutely nothing or no one. Reitman notes that “it is a movie about a man who meets a woman who is so similar to him with both having thoughts of living solo” till they fall in love with each other.
The main character, Ryan Bingham, is a high altitude boarder crosser and BlackBerry’s owner who is used to traveling light and giving some motivational speeches on this matter. Bingham barely lives here and there and seems to have found more comfort in places associated with the airport, or simply the ‘air world’. On average, he spends 322 days a year on working, which implies spending most of the time on planes. However, he is pretty satisfied with what he does and his greatest ambition, and later a proudest achievement, is to get a 10-million mile frequent flyer status with American Airlines. For Bingham, hotel rooms are just as cozy as home could be. As it was mentioned, his job involves travelling around the country firing people. He is more than used to living an empty life out of a suitcase.
The movie follows the traditional three act structures in rather a clever way. “Up in the air” is a movie about Ryan Bingham who is constantly on the move and working hard not to be tied down by the problems “normal” people have. There are two parallel storylines in the motion picture which are as follows: after years of constant traveling by plane in order to do his job, which is firing people, Ryan is requested to start working online rather than flying: Ryan embarks on a sexual relationship with Alex, another frequent flyer, and they eventually fall in love. The two storylines are a threat to Ryan’s lifestyle. They contain all the act structures occurring in back-to-back scenes. This is a non-linear narrative with two storylines having different endpoints. While one of the storyline ends in a ‘happy’ standpoint, the other one ends in a ‘sad’ one.
Although I may not have liked what he does, Ryan’s charm and warm words make it easier to leave the job for those he fires. He seems to be very caring despite the fact that he is only with those people for a couple of minutes. He regards people as humans with all their feelings and emotions, and in the end, we feel a deep sympathy to his real personality.
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This character of a corporate downsizer was well played by Gorge Clooney. The other two main actors, Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga, are also very convincing and compelling in playing strong women who were at different positions in their lives. While Farmiga’s character Alex seems to be old and mature and not into the opposite sex, Kendrick’s character Natalie is naïve and emotionally vulnerable, why she is easily hurt. The scene where they finally meet and seat opposite each other is very effective. They open up to each other and speak about their expectations for an ideal man. This shows how dynamic the two actors can be.
The movie’s cinematographers tried their best in avoiding any superfluous episodes that could have distracted people from the story. There is a bit of some transparency in the technical filmmaking which helps audience to connect to the story and makes it feel real. The part I liked best in the film is when Ryan is unexpectedly called back into the company offices in Omaha because a newly hired Natalie is promoting the use of teleconferencing. Ryan tries to keep his job arguing that Natalie does not know how to handle speaking to upset people. It really caught him unawares. Use of aerial photography is also clearly seen to be used. This movie also used some vintage style to make it look like it was shot some decades back.
The editing technique helped determine the nonverbal communication shape of the first meeting between Ryan and Alex.
Speaking about art direction for the movie, Jason Reitman did a great job planning all the locations, sets, effects and costumes. There as a collection of archival photographs and pre-production sketches from the 1960s and 1970s offering a glimpse of the art and direction during the 60s and 70s. There are some simple style frames that show a general look of what the director intended to do. Director Jason Reitman’s style can be said to be a vintage style that makes the movie look like it was shot in the 1970s and that is why he used postcards from the 1960s and 1970s, especially those featuring dull locations.
The movie is generally good, on a scale of 10; I’ll give it 8.5 points. The movie is like a comedy but with some dramatic episodes and philosophical themes to muse upon. Besides it is well acted. The film may have its own share of shortcomings, however, it doesn’t disappoint; I’d even say that it is a must-watch-movie, especially during this hard economic times.