“Up In the Air”
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is the
consummate frequent flier. His
job, on a purely contract basis, is to fly somewhere and tell other people
that they’re out of a job. He’s
inured himself to it. He
doesn’t feel sorry for anyone. He
doesn’t care if they yell, hurl invectives, protest, argue, throw
things, or cry. He’s seen
it all. He’s perfect for
what he does. He’ll travel
anywhere, he’ll handle things with efficiency and dispatch, and with
just a modicum of compassion. He
has a really direct and sincere way of telling people that this is
actually an opportunity for them to go and do what they’ve always wanted
to do, and many of them accept that kind of “spin” on what would
otherwise be purely traumatic and horrific.
He also assures them that he will available for further
consultation, which is pure blarney.
He’ll never see them again.
He’s a fastidious packer, never
lugging around too much, never checking baggage.
Always stays in the Admirals Clubs at the airport, and always
pre-arranges his car rentals. He
has no family, so he doesn’t worry about coming home often.
In fact, “home” is just an empty apartment in
, where he occasionally stays when he needs to go to a meeting in the home
office. His boss (Jason
Bateman) is mostly a voice over the phone, checking in with him
occasionally, which suits him just fine, as does the lack of office
routine. The road is his
On occasion, he engages in a
meaningless fling, but he has no significant relationships.
His parents are gone; he
has a couple of sisters, but he’s not close to them.
The fact that one of them is getting married soon, and he’ll have
to show up, represents a schedule-trumping inconvenience.
His big goal in life is to make the
10 million mile marker. Few
people have ever done it. You
get a special travel card, and a dedicated personal line to arrange your
future travel. And, you get
to meet the head pilot of the whole airline.
We all know what’s going to
happen. Ryan Bingham’s
perfect world is going to start getting some dinks in it (we’re set up
the same way we were in “The Accidental Tourist”).
Bingham meets someone on the road (Vera Farmiga) who actually
interests him. Bingham is
called to the home office in order to tutor a young “newbie” named
Natalie (Anna Kendrick). That’s
routine-disturbing enough in itself, but she’s also proposing
overhauling the whole system by replacing live agents with
videoconferencing, which would eliminate the jobs of the terminators
themselves. And Bingham
doesn’t get to just show up at the wedding, he actually has to try to
talk a balky groom into not getting cold feet and bolting, an irony which
is not lost on the bachelor brother or the jittery groom.
George Clooney is perfect for this
role. The others are very
good additions. This movie is
perfectly cast, is chuckly-funny in a lot of unexpected places, and even
boasts some plot twists. It’s
smart and stylish and even a little poignant.
“Up In The Air” definitely manages to get off the ground and
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace