Thursday, March 04, 2010

Narcotic in Nature

Saturday night, I finally had the chance to see the Academy Award-nominated film “Up in the Air.”

This enjoyable George Clooney vehicle was directed Jason Reitman, who previous work includes “Thank You for Smoking” and “Juno.”

As he did in those fine films, Reitman demonstrates in “Up in the Air” a canny ability to create lovably acerbic characters who live by their own rules, fall in love and have their hearts broken. He creates romance without crossing the schmaltz line.

And, like “Thank You for Smoking” and “Juno,” this latest entrée from Reitman also is an issue film. It’s about America’s corporate culture and what happens to the souls of business types who are always on the road.

As someone who travels a decent amount for work, this aspect of “Up in the Air” hit home. There does come a point when business travel becomes something of a drug – and working the system becomes a game. (My colleagues and I have a developed a passion for snagging bulkhead seats on planes at no added cost.)

After seeing “Up in the Air” in December, Fran penned a smart reflection of her corporate travels that parallel those of the Clooney character. One bit:

“Wherever I was, I longed to be somewhere else and in my mind I traversed the globe. And in reality, I did much of the same. Why live in my ordinary life, aware of my ennui and discomfort when I could be dreaming of the next stop? It was a balm, narcotic in nature, that I was in need of.”

As of this writing, “Up in the Air” had a 90 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes. I’d say that’s on target.

1 comment:

Fran said...

Paul, I am glad that you got to see this - I think you understand. Thank you for linking to my blog.

Me from work.

(And for what it is worth, when I saw the Chopin post, my first thought was that I visited his grave in Paris. Always somewhere else. Today I am here, where I am, for good or ill.)