I’ve tried writing this review for Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air a number of times, but it keeps coming back to this one singular fact: it’s really excellent.

George Clooney is Ryan Bingham, a cool, charming corporate axeman who flies from city to city firing people for a living. He’s very good at it, this firing business (and he’s surprisingly not entirely without compassion) but the very best part of the job is that it keeps him moving virtually year-round. This way he doesn’t have to deal with family, relationships or any other personal baggage. It all seems quite ideal. Yet his assumptions are challenged by a perky new co-worker, a sexy fellow-traveller and the obligations of a family wedding that just will not go away…..

So: imagine a movie where almost every one of the notes are hit with perfect pitch and clarity. A movie where the lead characters are perfectly painted and then shaken from the positions in which they have been established, almost without missing a beat. A movie where there is bleak sadness and significant humour, sunshine and snow, tenderness and brusque dismissal. It’s got George Clooney too, who must be the leading man of his entire generation. I loved it, and I can’t find a quip witty enough to do it justice.

On a location side, Lambert Field Airport in St. Louis Missouri plays stand-in for the multiple airports in the film. Omaha, Nebraska is also heavily featured in the narrative, though it turns out that a lot of the Omaha footage was actually shot elsewhere – St. Louis in particular. St. Louis Today has the rundown. There’s a lot of interesting stuff on the web too about the product placement in the film – American Airlines and Hilton Hotels score – although The Guardian suggests that it’s a mixed blessing.