"Up in the Air" soars to Oscar heights
With director Jason Reitman at the controls, George Clooney achieves Oscar altitude in “Up in the Air,” a timely, high- and low-flying comedy with a heavy heart that ultimately comes in for a profoundly moving three-point landing.
Who else but Clooney, with his likable dash and wit and somewhat roguish charm, could take a self-centered, pampered guy like Ryan Bingham, who literally spends his life “letting people go” on both a professional and personal level, and make him a sympathetic character?
Bingham is a corporate terminator for hire, profiting from the recession as he jets from city to city, sacking employees of downsizing companies for CEOs who don’t have the stomach or the necessary skills to do the dirty work themselves.
Bingham’s methods are humane but coldly efficient, complete with a brochure designed to sell the newly unemployed on the idea that being fired has opened a world of opportunities for new beginnings.
Most of them don’t buy it, but Bingham always manages to ensure the companies are protected from wrongful termination action.
Meanwhile, Bingham revels in his mobile lifestyle, unencumbered by the responsibilities of family, personal commitments or any home to speak of. He packs everything he thinks he needs in a carry-on, wheel-away case.
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