Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Up In the Air
Up in the Air was finally released last week. Had I seen the film without any awareness of how it had been received, I'd have enjoyed it far more than I did. As it happened, I had read a few rapturous reviews in the American press, and found the product unworthy of the hype.
It's a film about a man (George Clooney) who fires people for a living. Clooney's firm is hired to do the dirty work when firms decide to downsize, and he flies from town to town handing out pink slips. Well, folders with severance packages to be precise.
The film is like a flight that's very comfortable, but during which you can't avoid breathing recycled airplane air and eating airline food. There's nothing original or deep or exceptional about the movie. It doesn't even bother to dig into the issue of unemployment, except for the trauma felt by those fired.
Clooney's character likes a no-commitments lifestyle and preaches about it at conferences, but he isn't given strong enough lines to make the option seem appealing. Like Jabeen mentioned after the film, "If somebody asked me to imagine burning all my belongings and getting rid of all my close friends and family members, and then asked me if I felt liberated, I'd say, "No, of course not, why would something like that feel liberating?"
Guys, for the most part, imagine themselves as slightly more like sharks and slightly less like swans than women do, but even for guys, the Clooney option hardly sounds inspiring.
In the end, of course, George falls in love and does an about-turn in attitude. His sister is getting married, but the groom develops cold feet. Clooney's asked to convince him that marriage is a great option. Turning his own argument around, he asks the groom-to-be to think about the happiest moments in his life. Then he asks if he was alone during any of those moments. The man shakes his head, convinced of the importance of companionship.
Well, I can say in honesty that I have been alone during some of the happiest moments of my life.
So I don't buy either of Clooney's motivational speeches, just as I don't buy the idea that Up In The Air was one of 2009's best films.
Posted by Girish Shahane Girish Shahane at 10:57 AM