Steve Jobs (2015) – Film Review

Solid attempt at dissecting the Jobs mythology

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Steve Jobs is directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire (2008)) using a script written by Aaron Sorkin (West Wing TV series).  It attempts to dissect the complex character of the driven IT mogul against the backdrop of three important product launches.  He is in denial that he has fathered a daughter, pushes for the impossible and seems to upset everybody around him.  Michael Fassbender plays the lead roll while Kate Winslet plays his long suffering marketing director Joanna Hoffman.  The movie also features Seth Rogen playing it straight as Steve Wozniak and Jeff Daniels as Apple CEO John Sculley.

To the film’s credit it does a really good job of capturing the drama of being in the inner circle of someone who it is difficult to tell if he is a visionary or megalomaniac obsessed with controlling the world.  I hadn’t fully realised the failures that Jobs had with the Macintosh and NeXT computers.  Wozniak warned him off but he wouldn’t have it – the Macintosh finished him at Apple (the first time around) and the NeXT almost ended his career permanently.  This was the visionary part.  He knew what computers could be used for but the technology couldn’t do it and the public wasn’t ready.

I found the character as portrayed by Fassbender compelling, witty and oddly magnetic despite his lack of sensitivity and refusal to compromise.  Winslet delivers the more human performance and tries to act as a buffer between Jobs and everyone else.  She is driven to force him to acknowledge his daughter and to just do the right thing irrespective of what he believes to be true.  It is the more personal moments that work the best in this movie.  The technological aspects and business hijinks turns out to be pretty boring in comparison.  Where this film falls over a little is the lack of an emotional payoff.  It ends before his battle with cancer begins and relies on his attempts to settle things with his daughter as the main plot line.  That didn’t work for me and as such disappointed.

To summarise Steve Jobs is an interesting character study with an excellent central performance by Fassbender supported well by Winslet and co.  It is let down by the lack of an emotional edge although this shouldn’t put you off if you like intelligently written drama supported by strong acting.  My rating 3/5.

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