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Up in the Air

The story of a man ready to make a connection. 

Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Jason Reitman 
Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick  
An image from Up in the Air

Ryan Bingham (Clooney) works on behalf of other companies too cowardly to fire their own employees, sugar-coating the harsh reality of losing their jobs with motivational clichés about the opportunities offered by unemployment. He lives a detached and sterile life: living out of a suitcase, swiping in at airports and hotels, and regarding American Airlines as more of a home than his small apartment in Omaha. In fact, more than a family or friends, he covets the premier membership achieved when he finally clocks up ten million frequent flyer miles. Ironically, his own job and lifestyle are put on the line when a young booksmart go-getter called Natalie (Kendrick) proposes a revolutionary way to fire people: over webcam. With the added confusion of his feelings for fellow jetsetter Alex (Farmiga), nothing is clear for Ryan anymore; indeed, it’s all up in the air.

Especially relevant in the current climate of redundancy, this is a surprisingly provocative film. Clooney may be typecast as the obnoxious smarm, but this is the role he was born to play, and his efforts were rewarded in his nomination at this year’s Oscars. His character’s seemingly impenetrable exterior soon gives hints of humanity that are eked out by the female protagonists, particularly Kendrick’s idealistic enthusiast. Indeed, Ryan’s development of decency is the thrust of the film, laying solid foundations for both drama and comedy throughout. Behind the excellent acting is a wonderful directorial effort from Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking), producing some slick cinematic sequences that make the movie a character in itself.

Whilst no departure from Clooney’s familiar repertoire, Up in the Air epitomises his persona in an entertaining vehicle with wit and charm. Check in to this flight of filmmaking and you’ll leave the cinema soaring!

Owen Rye

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Summer Term (35mm)
2009/2010 Summer Term (35mm)