As someone who is currently travelling about 100,000 miles a year, it was a surreal experience sitting in an airplane at 40,000 ft watching a George Clooney film about a well-travelled man sitting up in the air at around 40,000 ft. But a fun one. Yes, some of the plot twists were a little predictable (not so much twists, as dance moves with footmarks), but his portrayal of a man feasting upon the decline of the American Empire, who was happiest when sipping upon a club class Martini, certainly made two of the hours of my own airplane journey slip away more easily, with a smile on my face.
I even watched it again on the way back, which to me is always the unconscious sign of a great movie. But this may be because I am now officially in love with Vera Farmiga, Clooney's main love interest in the film.
In case you've ever wondered, this is what the women in Maturin World will all look like, when the revolution comes:
The second best scene in the movie is when Clooney gets to meet God, barely disguised as an airline pilot, a meeting which fractures Clooney's perspective on life.
The best scene is of course when Clooney stands up at one of his backpack conferences and starts playing Jack Maturin, though one of us is slightly thinner and slightly better looking. See the film and you'll know what I mean. I certainly did.
I may even watch it a third time, this weekend, when I return to Abu Dhabi. Fortunately, this time I have a client who is prepared to stump up for Etihad pearl business class rather than the Etihad coral economy class that I experienced last weekend, so I shall order a Martini especially for the occasion. Though once again, Etihad proved that flying with them, even at the wrong end of the plane, is excellent value for money, and far superior to all the other economy classes that I have ever flown. For instance, on most economy flights, if you ask for a small Heineken beer, eyes roll, and although you'll get one, you'll still be treated like a dependent alcoholic. On Etihad, if they have time, one will be brought to your chair as if you're a business customer, and when you've finished with it, they're likely to ask you if you would like another one. Oh, and the legroom is good too, even for a former blindside flanker like me who should spend some more time down the gym. And the entertainment system is fab. And the stewards and stewardesses are great. Nothing is too much trouble. (And if anyone from Etihad is reading this, please email me at the address to the right, and I'll let you know my airmiles number so you can bung a few more onto my account.)
If anyone also knows what hand luggage Mr Clooney was using during the film, then I would be pleased to hear it. Because I've just gotta have some, especially the snappable pack thing he kept his ties in; the movie's product placement people did a poor job of letting me figure out what it was. The UK is mostly useless at luggage, and it's really difficult to find anything really good, like some of the great stuff which niche suppliers in the US provide.
Up in the Air. Great film. Check it out on any airline near you. It has to be watched in the sky.