Steve Jobs was a brilliant man and innovator, the cofounder of Apple and the creator of the Mac, iPod, and iPhone. However, the man behind these inventions was not as warm and inviting as his inventions, as the film Steve Jobs explores the man behind the machine. Scripted by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) and directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), the film stars Michael Fassbender (X-Men: Days of Future Past) as the titular man, with Kate Winslet (A Little Chaos), Seth Rogen (Neighbors), and Jeff Daniels (HBO’s The Newsroom) in the supporting cast.
Steve Jobs takes place on the launch days of 3 of Job’s products: the Apple Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT Computer in 1988, and the iMac of 1998. In each segment, Jobs must deal with the expectations, the failures of a launch, and losing and regaining control of Apple, with his assistant/confidant Joanna Hoffman (Winslet) at his side through each launch. Through each of the launches, Jobs in confronted about these devices and his own ego through conversations with Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak (Rogen), Apple CEO John Sculley (Daniels), Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg), a member of the original Apple team, andJoel Pforzheimer (John Ortiz), a GQ journalist who was at all of the launches. As this is happening, Jobs also must contend with his ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterson, Inherit Vice) and his daughter, Lisa, who he publicly denied was his.This father-daughter relationship and how it grows is the heart of Steve Jobs. The film displays Jobs growth from denying the 5-year old Lisa (Makenzie Moss) was his, to grudgingly accepting some responsibility over his 9-year old (Ripley Sobo), and finally admitting his love and wrongdoings of abandonment to a 19-year old college student (Perla Haney-Jardine).
The dialogue from Sorkin’s script combine extremely well with Boyle’s frenetic visual flair. Conversations between Jobs and other characters feel meaningful and exciting. I especially enjoyed the character arc that Jobs had in Steve Jobs. This growth also is displayed within Fassbender with each launch, as the overconfident and edgy innovator transforms into the softer, gentler CEO we knew in later years. Fassbender plays Jobs as though the man wants to contribute more to the world than to his friends. It is through this performance in each timeframe and with other characters that make Fassbender compelling as the Apple cofounder, despite not looking like him.
I also enjoyed Jeff Daniels’ engrossing performance as the CEO Sculley, who goes from Jobs’ father figure to company rival and finally respected friend. I also liked Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, but I did find that her accent was a bit distracting. Also, Seth Rogen and Katherine Waterson are not as utilized with there characters as much, making them feel underdeveloped. Otherwise, I feel that most of the breathing room was only given to Jobs.
Boyle’s direction is also as clean and energetic as the Apple computers that Jobs helped make. The three scenes that make up the film are neatly connected, allowing a smooth transition via newsreels and voiceovers. Cinematography from Alwin H. Küchler also establish the visual differences from each timeline of the three scenes within the 80s and 90s. Besides quick flashbacks, most of the time the scenes stay within the building that a launch was taking place in. One scene in particular that stood out was when Jobs confronted Sculley about being taken out of Apple, where conversation intersected and cut to the night that of Job’s firing. Scenes like that are what make this film so fascinating to watch.
All in all, Steve Jobs is the best movie to have come out about the titular man. It is vibrant with a towering performance from Michael Fassbender. Steve Jobs showed us the man in the machine.
Image by Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jobs_%282015_film%29)