May I introduce to you the love child of Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin. Expectations have been high – thankfully this film shows that when two geniuses put their heads together a masterpiece can be born. With Michael Fassbender at the helm as the man himself and Kate Winslet keeping him in check as Apple’s steadfast marketing executive Joanna Hoffman, Steve Jobs had me gripped throughout.
Unlike Ashton Kutcher’s Jobs, we only observe a piecemeal insight into the tech rat-race lifestyle. The movie comprises three acts which revolve around three key launches: the 1984 Macintosh, 1988 NeXt, and the 1998 iMac. Loaded with electrically charged wit the atmospheric build up to each unveiling of the latest Jobs-tech is palpable. I felt like one of the fans waiting beyond the curtain, whipped up into a frenzy and stamping my feet with impatient excitement for the keynote presentation to begin.
As a West Wing fan I’m a sucker for erudite dialogue and this film is absolutely dripping with the stuff. Words like egotistical, self-absorbed, manipulating, implacable and “a**hole” spring to mind when I think of how Jobs is portrayed; needless to say the film doesn’t exactly flatter Apple. However instead of being repulsed by Fassbender’s “I don’t care how you do it, get it done” bullying attitude, I was enthralled. Jobs clearly sprinted a fine line, teetering dangerously between insanity and genius which really emphasised the sense commercial risk that comes with such events.
Experts and those close to the CEO at the time have voiced their concerns over the factual inaccuracies in the film. The events have admittedly been embellished with artistic licence. As a result, a lot is squeezed into each act giving the film a mildly contrived air. The main objection has been to recurring characters present at the launches simply not being there or no longer even working for Apple at the time. Much like the scientifically impossible storm that takes place at the beginning of The Martian I am very much willing to forgive writers bending of the rules when the film is improved as a result. The fact that Jobs is constantly beleaguered with his colleagues, the mother of his child and his daughter significantly contributes to the plot which concentrates heavily on these dysfunctional relationships. Not to mention you’ll be glad these characters (played by top billed cast like Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels and Michael Stuhlberg) were crowbarred in as they give outstanding performances.
To really distinguish between the three launch events those keen of sight will pick up on the visual differences. The film begins by being shot in 16mm which gives it a slightly grainy look. 35mm is then used for the second act which adds colour and clarity. For the final launch we are hit with sharp high definition digital. Accompanying the evolving aesthetic we see Jobs himself transition into a less obstinate, more mellow and accepting person. That’s not to say he loses his eccentricity entirely, at his core he is still very much the same man throughout.
It’s a shame that this film was considered a flop in the US box office. Nevertheless, I highly recommend a watch, especially if you’re a fan of The Social Network which seems to fit hand in glove with Steve Jobs.
By Zachary Whyte
To see more of Zak’s write ups, visit his blog at: https://themultiplexperspective.wordpress.com