Dec 19, 2009

Jason Reitman, who you would think had made Up in The Air all by himself, was on Fresh Air the other day talking about the enormous attention to detail he had demanded while making the film. He sounded like the young writer who fiddles endlessly with the form of a first paragraph and never develops the substance of a worthy conclusion.

That's the one problem with Up In The Air. Form doesn't quite lead to substance. It's a brilliant film in many so many ways, albeit a little movie in big pants. Clooney is great. Farmiga is even better. She is one more proof that there is nothing sexier than a mature woman. And there are several scenes that make you proud to be in middle age in general.

All that and a fresh eye, but in the last frame the engine cuts out. It made me think of the very last bit of voice over in American Beauty.

Perhaps, it's the fault of the novel that the film is based on, although in that case Mr. Reitman should have come to his own conclusion. As it is the ending leaves the dialogue between artist and audience unfinished and yes, contrary to the la mode need of anything unfinished and unresolved, that ending doesn't suffice.

The problem with Clooney's Mr. Bingham is that he is never able to land, even in the end when he needs to refuel himself, and become something other than a pretender in his life. This is not The Wings of Desire: this is a hero who cannot overcome what, at his point in life, should be an easier obstacle to overcome. And so without character becomes caricature.

1 comment:

Anjuli said...

and now I'm curious to see this movie that doesn't quite follow through with a strong finish.