Based on Walter Kirn’s 2001 novel of the same name Up In The Air is the story of Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a 35 year old career transition counselor (our favourite job euphemism yet) at a Denver-based management consulting company.
Bingham flies around the country firing people and attempts to accrue ten million frequent fly miles before he leaves or is fired from his employer. Judging from the plot alone, this film could not have come at a better time. While the Global Financial Crisis’ impact has varied across the World, the subsequent Economic downturn and the internet-induced restructuring of certain industries (music, media) has catapulted the notion of job security into the public consciousness. People are looking over their shoulder, taking pay cuts, working longer, grinding it out, dreaming of an easier option and quite possibly, looking for films to explain and/or escape everything.
Helmed by Juno Director Jason Reitman Up In The Air also stars comedic heavyweights Danny McBride, Zach Galifianakis and Jason Bateman so it’s not all on Clooney’s shoulders – though we assume his salt and pepper head stands front and center for the film’s duration. In this climate of uncertainty you can’t get more enticing than plaintive piano trills, a Fight Club style shopping list of possessions, a vague air of social malaise, panoramic airport shots and George Clooney harping on about why humans are like sharks. Oscar-bait 101.