Thoughts on Jason Retiman’s UP IN THE AIR

At the risk of looking like I am jumping on the band wagon, I wish to offer my praise for Jason Reitman’s UP IN THE AIR. This was the first film that I have seen in some time that I feel actually had something to say. Perhaps it even had many things to say. George Clooney again turns in a memorable performance in the role of the audience mirror. His character, Ryan Bingham,  functions to allow us to examine our selves, our lives, our values, our schedules and our priorities.

Being there are so many other reviews of the film that examine the themes, technicalities, etc., I would rather lend some thought to a particular line in the film that I have been wrestling with ever since leaving the theater. At one point in the film, Clooney asks his young traveling partner, played by Anna Kendrick, what they do for their mutual employer. She responds with a party line issued by the CEO. Clooney retorts and says, “No, that’s what we sell, not what we do.” I have really been giving some thought to this concept. Is what I sell myself as different than what I actually do? Can my very personality press the bounds of good ethics? I was challenged by this line and will continue to examine it’s implications in my life.

I cannot think of a more clear example of how film has the power to change people. This is a medium that has huge consequences on how we think and live. Truly, some films are designed to purely entertain us. There is nothing wrong with this. UP IN THE AIR is not one of these films. I hope to see it’s creators at the Kodak in 2010.