Up In The Air

George Clooney excels in darkly funny romcom

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Directed by Jason Reitman
Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Jason Bateman

On paper, it would seem Up In The Air bears all the trappings of a grown-up, sophisticated romcom. After all, here’s George Clooney as Ryan Bingham, a smug “corporate downsizer” who travels around America firing employees for companies too gutless to do the job themselves, all the while coveting his air miles and the comfort of business travel.

Then he meets glamorous fellow frequent flyer Vera Farmiga (who you may recognise as the subject of both Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio’s affections in Scorsese’s The Departed), and their no-strings hook-ups in hotels soon find Clooney warming to the notion that, after all, there may be more to life than hotels and perks. Love, surely, and Bingham’s redemption must inevitably follow, right?

In fact, Up In The Air – director Reitman’s first film since Juno – is too smart to follow the obvious path to dénouement. While, certainly, capable of a dark humour and moments of extraordinary bleakness, it’s also commendable for another superb performance from Clooney. Bingham is a consummate game player who fails to realise, almost until it’s too late, that he, too, has been played.

Michael Bonner

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