Thursday, 21 January 2010

Up in the Air - Cineworld - 21/1/10

Let's start at the end.

It's disappointing.

Depending on what type of person you are you may be disappointed too.

If you like happy endings or at least endings that offer some hope and that peddle the notion that certain things really matter and are what make life "meaningful" then you won't be disappointed.

If you want an ending where the film-makers have the courage of their convictions and present a consistent image of the central character and where they don't simply look for a way to keep studios and mainstream audiences happy then you will be disappointed.

I was disappointed.

I think my level of disappointment stems from how good the first two acts of this film are. There are moments of real emotion, both good and bad, there is real humour and it is presented as an updated version of the good old days of cinema...with a raffish leading man, an endearing, simple and cute leading lady and an, almost, villainous "other" woman.

As a man who has the unenviable job of firing people for a living Clooney spends more time up in the air, flying from one corporate wasteland to another, than he does at "home". When his company decide to start firing people via the internet he is grounded and faces the prospect of a life like everyone else. This new future is the result of the efforts of new girl in the office Natalie (Anna Kendrick) to revolutionise the industry. He and Natalie have to take a road trip (but in a 'plane) to show her the realities of what the job entails. During this time we learn that Clooney is just short of his goal of ten million air miles (only six other people have achieved this) and this pursuit of something so worthless, at least to Natalie, lies at the heart of who he is.

Who he is and what he represents will depend on your views on life, the universe and everything...his relationship with fellow transient, Alex (Vera Farmiga), will strike you as immoral, empty and souless or perfect sense depending on those same views.

The film is a joy to look at and Clooney is perfection as a hipster here and I have no doubt that either a BAFTA or an Oscar are bound for his mantel but ultimately this is only two thirds of a great movie with a final third that wouldn't have been out of place at a Disney script meeting.

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