Sunday, 17 January 2010


16/1/01, Barbican

Entertaining but rather bleak movie starring George Clooney as a man who flies around the States making people redundant. He has no ties, no family, no real home (just a bedsit in Omaha, Nebraska, indistinguishable from a hotel room). He loves that. He is a man without baggage except the carry-on bag we see him wheeling through endless airports. The people he fires all have baggage which hampers them and undermines them (he has a sideline giving inspirational talks in which he urges his listeners to treat their lives as a backpack and empty out the contents). He meets a similarly-inclined woman; their lives intersect at conferences and hotels. She comes with him to an excruciating family wedding where George's character has to persuade the groom not to back out at the last minute, deploying arguments he has hitherto rejected. He comes perilously close to thinking that maybe he could do with some ties and baggage after all; flies to the woman's home in Chicago; stands outside her house and realises she's married.

The many incidental pleasures included the full frame to-camera vignettes by countless Hollywood character actors as the people he fires (his new assistant wants to save money by staying in Omaha and firing them all over the internet, a prospect that evidently horrifies the George character since it would deprive him of his frequent-flyer luxury lifestyle); and also the aerial shots of the cities he visits, looking down at them almost vertically and briefly at the start of each sequence.

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