Synopsis: A corporate downsizing expert faces an end to life on the road as he nears a travel milestone.
Release Date: December 25, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Drama
Every day we wake up and make a choice. These choices dictate our lives in the present moment and impact our future. For Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) the choices he makes are simple. Go to work, fire employees he does not know for a company he has no connection to, and continue racking up his frequent flyer miles in the hopes of joining the elite club of those who have flown ten million miles in their lifetime. He also occasionally has a casual romantic fling with a woman who has a similar lifestyle to his, or so he believes. This makes for a very shallow existence and the film attempts to portray him as such a person, shallow. A glimpse of possible change occurs when Ryan must fight for his own job and way of life. His antagonist being a webcam. It may sound strange but you could also interpret it is the character Natalie (Anna Kendrick) who comes up with the webcam idea [but I like it as the webcam itself]. A man who lives for his work does not have to fear losing his job, but his entire way of life. Ryan is being grounded and grounded to a man as great a loner as he is may as well be castration. So his journey begins to prove that the personal connection between firer and the fired is much to important to leave to a computer screen. Is Ryan thinking of others or just himself in this matter? That is a very good question. The film almost answers it in the end but with a character such as Ryan we may never know the truth. Then again, in all the ways he comes across as a man more concerned with getting through airport security quickly than having any form of emotional connection with his family or friends we, as the audience, know better. Ryan is not so emotionless after all and it takes two very different women plus a webcam to help us, and him, come to realize that fact. Taking this flight with Ryan is worth the cost of admission, if only for the way you feel in the end. You may not be happy, or sad, or feel much of anything. Yet as you reflect on the story, the hidden meanings lurking inside of it, do not be surprised if you start to examine your own life and the choices you make every day.
Ryan Bingham. That name may become synonymous with the 2009 economic crisis. Perhaps with the never ending downsizing of American companies. How do you play a man who wakes up every morning and ruins other peoples lives? With a suave, unforgiving, and incredibly perceptive attitude. That is how George Clooney has taken on Ryan and it works, a little too well. Do we like Ryan Bingham? Sometimes. Do we hate Ryan Bingham? Indirectly, always. It does not matter how smooth and articulate, or even darkly humorous he may be, at the end of it all he is the enemy to each and every person who works for a living. Yet inside that cold exterior of a man who profits off others losing their jobs there is hope. Clooney portrays those moments of realization right on the mark. He makes us want more for Ryan and we happily agree to hope he will break out of his lonely little world and embrace the possibilities of human connections. Ryan becomes the antihero who we desperately need to see change and evolve. Clooney enables this in all of us with his interpretation of the character and he will have you thinking about him, and his life choices, long after the film ends.
From calm and collective to a fish out of water, the unforgettable Natalie played by Anna Kendrick. As a recent Cornell graduate she thinks she knows everything, and can revolutionize the industry of firing people. The girl has gall. She is also incredibly naive, insecure, and dying to prove herself to anyone. You would never know it though from Anna Kendrick’s performance, except when you are supposed to know of course. Anna switches from one side of the character to another in the blink of an eye. Natalie is nervous one second and then snaps into action, ready to tell someone the worst news of their life, without flinching. She is breaking down and in need of consoling and then unknowingly insulting the person trying to help. This character is all over the place but she is always trying to come across as being prepared for anything. Most importantly, as we see through the hardened persona, is the sentiment and heart of Natalie. She may be blunt, say inappropriate things, and have no idea what she is really doing with her life but she knows how to love, how to live, and most importantly, how to connect outside of an airport. Something Ryan is in deep need of learning. Luckily he has Natalie to show him the way. Luckily we have Natalie as a character to remember.
Watching Ryan (Clooney) and Alex (Vera Farmiga) dance across the screen is practically voyeuristic. The connection they share and how they react to one another is incredibly electric; and portrayed with a deep level of lust and passion where you feel as if you are invading on their moment. This is no place for a third eye. It is a moment the two of them should share alone. In this sense it is perfect chemistry because no matter how much you feel like an intruder you cannot look away. You are drawn incessantly to these two people and the relationship they share. No matter how “casual” they may argue it is there is no denying the level of attraction they feel because you feel it through the screen into reality.
The best way to describe the humor in this movie is by saying it suffers from ‘Comedy Tourette Syndrome’. All is moving along as it should when out of nowhere someone says something and wow, that was unexpected and absolutely hilarious. There you have it. Expect the unexpected and enjoy.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Jason ReitmanJason Reitman
- Producer(s): Jason ReitmanSheldon TurnerGeorge Clooney (Ryan Bingham)
- Screenwriter(s): Vera Farmiga (Alex)Jason Bateman (Craig Gregory)Anna Kendrick (Natalie Keener)
- Cast: Dana E. GlaubermanEric SteelbergSteve Saklad
- Editor(s): Danny Glicker
- Cinematographer: Rolfe Kent
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s): Hammerhead Effects
- Music Score: Lola Visual Effects
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA