Whip-smart dark comedy has been a
signature thus far in the career of writer-director Jason Reitman, who
kicked things off by skewering the marketing/promotional efforts of the
tobacco industry (and American society as a whole) in Thank You for Smoking.
The Toronto International Film Festival is a movie geek's wet dream. The festival's avalanche of films (300-plus over 10 days) offered something for cinemaphiles of every stripe, including a typically healthy dose of new works by established filmmakers from across the globe. The prime example was Jason Reitman's slick yet affecting 'Up in the Air' (starring a never-better George Clooney) that confirms the young director is more than just Diablo Cody's 'Juno' bitch.
Jason Reitman's sleek yet affecting 'Up in the Air' confirms once and for all that the 32-year-old filmmaker is more than just Diablo Cody's 'Juno' bitch or the opportunistic son of a Hollywood insider. His deft adaptation of Walter Kirn's source novel is a darkly humorous look at the life of Ryan Bingham (a never-better George Clooney), an emotionally stunted "career transition consultant."
Don't over-think this one, folks. As awards season kicks into high gear, commentators of all stripes are going to talk about 'Up in the Air' in terms of its zeitgeist relevance, its timely attention to economic instability and the corporations that feast on the carrion of the down-sized and dispossessed. And in so doing, they will overlook how simply satisfying it is as a piece of filmmaking. Grade: A-.