Monday, March 8, 2010

Up in the Air


This is a movie about firing people. It deals with a sensitive and very real event given a comic twist, which in turn makes it tolerable to watch. In real life, this is no laughing matter but the film is effectively used as a medium to demonstrate this reality of life without being too brutal. In effect, it gives some sort of hopeful perspective, looking on to the positive aspect of getting sacked.

The first scenes are strategically placed to set the mood for the audience to relate well to Clooney's character. The film starts with aerial views of different land patches, clouds, bodies of water, etc, as seen from the window of a plane. After all the opening credits have rolled, a runway is shown with a plane landing, which is a very good transition from introduction to the story itself, which starts with a quick overview of Clooney's job. All throughout the film, the setting is introduced via aerial views of the cities and their names in large font.

Clooney is getting some good roles lately, award-winning ones to boot. In this movie, he is employed to tell people that they are fired. His job has a lot of perks, which include being a jet-setter and being hosted in VIP hotel accommodations. Along the way he meets Farmiga, another jet-setter, and they hit it off right away. However, all this is threatened by the idea of an upstart (Kendrick) to just use modern technology to fire people via video conferencing, eliminating all the need for travel to contribute to cost-cutting.

Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick give very good performances. The thing is, not one of them outshines the other. They are both given just the right amount of exposure to support the lead role played by Clooney. In terms of characterization, Kendrick seems to be the funnier one but Farmiga is not to be outdone. They sort of cancel each other out and it might be the same case come Oscar night. These two have been nominated left and right but Mo'Nique (Precious) is the one winning the awards. More or less, the nominations for the two are already the win.

The most enjoyable parts of the movie are the ones where all three of them are in. The three have good rapport onscreen. It is just too bad that they do not have more scenes together. The two women also disappear from the scenes for long periods of time, which is understandable because Clooney is the lead here after all.

Among the funny things in the movie is the generation gap between the characters and their expectations in life. It gives you some sort of perspective on how people view their live and how these views evolve as one grows up. This is mostly confined in that scene where the three of them talk and Clooney says, It's like firing people through Skype!

Just a question, does Clooney's job in the film really exist? Is its not that people usually just get pink slips to inform them of their unemployment, specially if it is a mass layoff? Well if this job does exist, it must be a very challenging one even with all those perks.

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