REVIEW: Steve Jobs
This review contains spoilers! [YouTube.com/FilmGob]
Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac.
Directed by Danny Boyle, from a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin, this biopic could easily have seen David Fincher at the helm starring Christian Bale or Leonardo DiCaprio, but settling on Boyle to direct and Michael Fassbender as Jobs is no slack reshuffle. Due to reports of a limited release now cancelled in the US, I went in with low expectations despite the quality in cast and crew. Also, being a tech fan myself, I feel it's come too soon, only two years since the poor Ashton Kutcher effort and five years since the death of Jobs.
However, despite those criticisms, Boyle and Sorkin have created a highly entertaining drama. Although Fassbender may not look like the Apple mastermind, the mannerisms, voice and overall performance are spot on. You believe him as the arrogant visionary behind the products who will bully his team so he can have his face on Time magazine. Yet we also see the reluctant father, finding it difficult to break down emotional barriers, and eventually making it right with his daughter before it's too late.
The solid supporting cast includes Jeff Daniels as CEO John Sculley, Seth Rogan as the co-founder and betrayed friend Steve Wozniak, but i was most impressed with Kate Winslet's role as Jobs' right hand marketing woman Joanna Hoffman, in her soft Polish accent mixed with American English. All of them bounce and clash with Fassbender's determination, almost like a dance of egos.
Most biopics take artistic license to tell a story over reality, and that nagging feeling never really leaves when watching this. However the unconventional narrative and structure presented here is what makes it stand out. The film is broken into three segments, each filmed in a different format. The Apple Macintosh launch in 1984 is filmed in 16mm, the NeXT computer reveal of 1988 is in 35mm, and the iMac event from 1998 was filmed in today's digital format. It's not obvious at first but certainly will be appreciated in repeat viewings.
There is of course a slight repetitiveness to the events but the two hours runtime flew by. The intense tone comes and goes, with great dialogue and humour. The retro, synthesised score matches up brilliantly and plays a big part for key scenes, sometimes beating softly and other times reaching a crescendo.
Danny Boyle's 'Steve Jobs' is a tribute to a man that was difficult to figure out and second guess. It's a window to a time in our recent history, so important to our future, shaped by someone we'll never see the likes of again within the tech industry.