Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fired Up

Up in the Air is on my list of one of the best films of the year. It stars George Clooney who is in the business of firing people. That is, he spends most of his time in airports and on airplanes, flying from city to city firing (aka transitioning) people on behalf of their corporate employers. Clooney's character Ryan Bingham has been at it so long, he doesn't quite see the value of in depth human connection. The apartment he keeps as his "home" is sparse, cold, and only used for packing his suitcase again. He has no roots. When a newer and younger employee at the company comes up with an idea to fire people by video phone, she threatens to ground Bingham's way of life forever. He has to reevaluate his job as well as his life, including deciding whether to pursue a woman who seemingly is a perfect fit.

Given our present economy, the subject matter of the film is very timely. You might think it awful to have such a job and it is. I couldn't do it. Jason Reitman, the director, used real people who had been fired to be fired by the actors n camera. And so the pain, bewilderment, and loss are real and tangible. But we also see the flip side--despite Bingham's faults, he's actually good at his job. If you had to fired, it might as well be by George Clooney.

So, if you have some time over the holidays, you should scoot on over and check it out.

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