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