Director/ writer Jason Reitman’s third feature solidifies his reputation as one of the best young directors working in Hollywood today.
George Clooney stars as Ryan Bingham, a job transition specialist who performs the ignominious task of firing people for a living. He’s able to do this with the efficiency of a professional soldier killing the enemy without any regards for his victim. Ryan defines himself through this detachment and exhibits no empathy at all. As he coolly notes “This is what we do, we take people at their most fragile and set them adrift”.
Mr. Reitman developed the script with writing partner Sheldon Turner who adapted a novel by Walter (“Thumbsucker”) Kirn. The Oscar caliber performance of Clooney is nothing short of remarkable. He creates a unique character who possesses a blithely self ironic spirit with charm and wit. Adding to the mix are wonderful performances by Vera Farmiga who plays Alex, a fellow traveler who adds just the right touch of detached romanticism, and, newcomer Anna Kendrick as the Generation X college grad who quickly aspires to the tasks at hand with the fury and sensitivity of Attila the Hun.
Reitman’s brilliant choice of photographing real people who had lost real jobs pays off with a sense of immediacy that captures the tenor our times. This is one the best films of the year and should not be missed!