Steve Jobs (2015) Directed by Danny Boyle. With Michael Fassbender, Kate WInslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels.
Danny Boyle’s take on Steve Jobs is an artfully constructed piece that showcases the visionary behind Apple inc as a flawed human being, as he attempts to change the world with his revolutionary ideas for home computing and beyond. Michael Fassbender conveys Jobs as a passionate, stubborn, hungry, talented, arrogant, self-centred and emotionally shipwrecked person. A man with such belief in his own foresight, that he was happy to align himself with the greatest and most iconic of achievers, way before the boom days of the digital age and all the i-products that are now a significant part of our daily lives.
The film is separated into three acts (1984, 1988, and 1998), all of which take place 30-some minutes before Jobs takes the stage to unveil new technology to the waiting press and public. So it is that we meet Steve Jobs under the most intense pressure, which in a way, is a good swerve away from having to tackle who the day-to-day Steve Jobs really is. We get the occasional flashback, which show a brief glimpse of a more measured mind, but on the whole, we’re privy to stress and family disputes, that are accompanied by a bombardment of professional clashes and backbiting from people Jobs relies on/combats at every turn.
The one person to bring stability to Jobs’ world is his loyal assistant Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet). Hoffman is the vocalisation of Jobs’ conscience, and she’s the glue that keeps his world from breaking apart. If the film is anything to go by, there can be no doubt that his achievements are in large part also hers.
Danny Boyle’s film has a distinctly theatrical resonance, which is emphasised by the way that each act culminates in its subject performing on stage. The drama occurs at a behind the scenes setting, and this juxtaposition only serves to strengthen the feeling of being given a backstage pass into Jobs’s world. Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay adaptation of Walter Isaacson’s novel is as dense as you’d expect, giving Michael Fassbender the floorspace to create a word-heavy version of a man whose ambition and vision fought a raging battle with his attempts to be a real human being. It shouldn’t go without saying that Fassbender gives yet another monumental performance in a role that demands a lot.
Ultimately, the film chooses to portray Steve Jobs as the father of two offspring; Apple Macintoch, and a little girl called Lisa. He doesn’t enjoy the smoothest relationship with either of them, but by the end, we’re fairly sure he loves them both evenly. 4/5
When I saw this one, it was definitely a case of “Good acting, boring story”. I enjoyed the performances, but I found myself struggling to care about the story line being told. All in all, ‘technically’ good film, but not all that entertaining. Don’t regret watching it, though.
Hi Chelsea, it’s good to hear from you. I understand why you found this one a struggle, in terms of the plot. In essence, it doesn’t really have much in the way of a story, it’s more an overarching narrative about a man’s struggle to be a father – to his biological daughter and his brainchild.
Nice review! While I thought it was technically impressive, the performances and, particularly, the directing really made this one for me.
I think you’re right in what you say. It is a film about a man’s character, rather than one that boasts a story structure. In that regard, it wasn’t what I was expecting – I mean that in a good way.
The performances especially from Winslet and Fassbender were excellent but the screenplay could have done a better job in telling a more gripping story. I mean Sorkin is an excellent screenwriter but here I feel he was off his game just a tad.
Great to hear from you, and I accept what you’re saying, although I don’t think he was off his game. The writing wasn’t aiming to convey the kind of story structure we usually see in a big screen biopic, it was an attempt to demonstrate Steve Jobs at his most intense, as his life and work are put under the hot lamps. I think it’s one of those times when we say “it is what it is”. It’s a relatively small, intimate film about a visionary who would go on to chase the word. By the way, I’m responding to this message on one of Steve Jobs’s devices.
Likewise Gareth! and no fair enough I take on board fully what you’re saying but I walked out of this film expecting more than what I got. Don’t get me wrong it’s a well made, well acted film, but with Sorkin and Boyle directing, had hope for greatness but didnt turn out that way sadly, at least for me.
I loved this movie. It was well acted and well staged (even though it was a different on how it was structured). Nice review!
I’m glad you liked it too, Jason. Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet can appear in as many movies as they like together. I’ll watch them all.
Just reading your review makes me want to watch this again. It was one of my favourite movies last year. Great performances all around and Sorkin’s writing is as strong as ever.
Really enjoyed this film, despite my initial reaction to the trailer being mostly, ughh Fassbender looks nothing like Jobs, and not really seeing Sorkin and Boyle as a match made in heaven. I have a soft spot for movies about difficult, prickly but brilliant characters.