MOVIE RATING: 4 stars (B+)
(Updated February 19, 2012)
I’m starting to catch up on watching recent movies and one of those movies that I’ve wanted to see from 2009 is Up In The Air (2009) starring George Clooney and Vera Farmiga. Director Jason Reitman, son of Director Ivan Reitman, has crafted a great feature film for only his 3rd effort as a director. Up In The Air was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar and deservedly belonged with that group of films. Having now seen 3 of the nominated Best Picture films (Avatar, The Hurt Locker and Up In The Air), I still feel that The Hurt Locker (2008) was probably the best of the bunch. Although Up In The Air is a close second to me. Clooney and Farmiga are brilliant in their acting and the writing by Jason Reitman is top notch. I’ve heard Reitman say that he is most interested in dialogue in movies, and the dialogue in Up In The Air is witty and interesting. I fell in love with Vera Farmiga as an actress when she starred in a little USA TV Show called Touching Evil (2004). The show didn’t even last a full season before getting canceled, even though it was excellent IMO. And Farmiga, along with Jeffrey Donovan, were what made that show so appealing. They had great chemistry, as Farmiga seems to bring to all her roles. Of course George Clooney brings his A-game to his role as Ryan Bingham as well.
While listening to a podcast discussion with writer/director Jason Reitman, he mentioned that what this movie is really about is this one man’s journey and quest to answer the question of whether he wants to share his existence in this universe with someone. I think the question and the answer(s) that he uncovers are perfect and I found myself very easily relating to Ryan Bingham. I think Bingham’s journey through his life has been so similar to what many of us (men and women) go through in our modern culture. We get easily wrapped up in our quest to achieve some goal, often in our career, and we lose sight of enjoying the journey to that goal. And by the time we reach that goal, we find it less satisfying than we expected. It’s this realization that I’ve had for myself recently with my career, having reached the point I was striving to get to for so many years, and then being thoroughly disappointed in that achievement…especially because I didn’t have anyone I wanted with me to enjoy it with.
As an adult drama, Up In The Air is a satisfying film and I wish more movies were made at this quality level. The cinematography and production design are brilliant on the movie. I must say one of my favorite set designs was a condo Clooney’s character buys…but it only happens in the deleted scenes on the DVD, so it’s missing from the actual film. But that condo is very cool architecturally and I wish it was in the film…but thank god for DVD extras!