In a Nutshell:
I enjoyed Steve Jobs more than I thought I would. Although based on actual events, Steve Jobs like many biographical movies takes liberties with the truth. However, the thing is I didn’t mind since I was invested in the human drama. The late CEO of Apple was certainly in real life an icon, so he was perhaps always destined to receive the big screen treatment, however I never thought it would ever make the most compelling subject for a mainstream movie.
Steve Jobs is essentially split into three acts as it deals with the launch of three pivotal products during the 1980’s-90’s. Namely the Mac – 1984, Job’s break away NeXT computer – 1988, and the iMac in 1998. The movie does not cover products launched by Jobs in his later years such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
Where Steve Jobs succeeds is firstly through its strong central portrayal by Fassbender. Save a few shots he doesn’t really resemble the man himself, but he certainly embodies the essence of who he was. The movie also has many of Boyle’s trademarks, which I appreciated. The script by Aaron Sorkin as well soars as I became more and more invested in the story which basically involved three product launches for computers, and if you can make that engaging, you know you’ve done something right. There was no mistaking that this script was penned by the same man as The West Wing.
The movie is also strong from a visual standpoint, adopting a very original idea. The decision was made to shoot the three acts on three different formats: grainy 16mm film for 1984, lustrous 35mm for 1988, and sleek, high-definition digital for 1998. This really helped place the three launches in their respective era’s.
Fassbender is also very well supported by a good cast. Kate Winslet is the main supporting player as Job’s head of marketing Joanna Hoffman. Jeff Daniels was great as John Sculley the former CEO of Apple and it was refreshing to see Seth Rogen show us what he’s got as an actor when he leaves the smutty laughs behind, in his portrayal of Steve Wozniak.
The movie lasts for just a shade over two hours, but thanks to Aaron Sorkin’s zesty script things fly by. The movie does have two main issues though. Chief among being that the movie spends all it’s time building you up to each launch that when the time comes for you to see it, you are unceremoniously flashed forward to the next one. After the tension was expertly risen before each presentation it would have been nice to see a least a snippet of the launches themselves.
Another issue is that despite the strong direction, acting and script not a huge amount happens in the movie. This is very much a character study piece and one that some have said is more of a character assassination of Jobs. I previously had heard before seeing the film that the movie offers a very negative portrayal of the man. Yet, he came across more human than I thought he would.