By Jason Reitman.
Based on the novel by Walter Kirn.
This one has been on my 'to-read' list for some time and at last, it has been read, or rather, experienced. I wanted to see the film after seeing its captivating teaser trailer some months back, but I knew I would read it before seeing it. So I wasn't going in with a clean and fresh perspective on this. But despite the baggage left over from the trailer, did it deliver to its expected and hopeful, high? The verdict is: Bing! or rather, yes, it did.
The story centres on Ryan Bingham, a middle aged man, and retrenchment consultant, who lives out of a suitcase as he travels the U.S. to consult, or rather, to fire people on behalf of the companies themselves. His life is spiced up when he meets a woman, Alex, and constant high flyer like himself, and life seems that much brighter when grounded. But then, his boss hires Natalie, a young, ambitious woman, who wants to change the nature of the consulting they do and therefore the nature of Ryan's job. As a result of Ryan's protest, she accompanies him on his work travels in order to understand the job first-hand.
The screenplay was an enjoyable, thoughtful, amusing, and moving experience. The writer also directed the film, so there is a shooting script style adopted here with an awareness and direction to the camera. (This is a Hollywood writer/director and the exception). The main character of Ryan was compelling from the start, and his portrayal; effective, consistent and believable throughout. The secondary characters of Alex, Natalie, Ryan's sisters and boss, offered a nice mix of flair, conflict, humour and drama to the uneventful and dull routine of Ryan's job and life. They were effectively written and illuminated his own character in crucial ways and some in steps to self-development. The script flows nicely and much like Ryan's suitcase, is minimalist and sparse, but make for a pacey and direct read. It's a layered read and true to life, and unlike most Hollywood films doesn't offer any absolutes or sugar-coat its content and subsequently, the nature of life, and is all the better for it.
The story is about life and being an individual. It's about pursuing an ambition, whatever that may be, reaching a goal, making a connection with someone, or yourself, settling down or being constantly on the move. There is no right way to live. Just whichever way you are comfortable with. But there are no guarantees. Life is always up in the air.
I cannot wait to see this film and I'm hopeful that it will hold up to my expectations. Although, I will wait a few months as I don't want to go in too soon and have an average and unsurprising experience. Amnesia has to kick in first, which won't take long, then I can jump right in!
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