Steve Jobs (2015)
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston
Directed By: Danny Boyle
Written By: Aaron Sorkin
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 2 min
On October 5th, 2011, Steve Paul Jobs died of cancer. He was 56.
I remember hearing the news and being genuinely upset by it, because in that moment, and for a little while later, the world honestly seemed a little less interesting. Love or hate the man, and by all accounts a lot of people did both simultaneously, Steve Jobs was the Turing, Edison, and Tesla of his day. A unique individual who wrapped himself up in his own ‘reality distortion field’, and dreamt up devices that changed the way we listen to music, make phone calls, and surf the web.
Less than two years after his death, Ashton Kutcher played Steve Jobs in the biopic, Jobs. A dull play-by-play highlight reel of Jobs’ life. Plodding through everything we already knew about the iconic CEO, without ever once attempting to explore or interpret repeatedly established talking points. Yes, Jobs was an asshole to the people he worked with, yes, he was asshole to his daughter Lisa, yes, he changed the world with his products.
What Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin have done is take a peek behind the reality distortion field. Creating a masterful piece of movie entertainment – we didn’t know we wanted. It’s like 2013’s Jobs was the biopic ‘they‘ thought we needed. The PC versus the Mac. The product brought to market only after months of research, PowerPoint presentations and user feedback. Whereas the Aaron/Boyle film is a more perfect depiction of the rock star CEO’s life, because it wants to be, knows it is, and doesn’t give a damn what you think. This is what will work and they know it, and you will too once you plonk your bum in the theater seat.
This assertion is backed up by Aaron Sorkin’s superb script, Danny Boyle’s frenetic direction (though wisely toned down a touch here), and truly great performances from Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels. Is it an accurate biopic? No. It’s a movie, and movies distort reality. This is an interpretation told over three acts, each one set before a major product launch as we watch key people in Steve’s life get trampled on, only to return for the next presentation. Like a screwed up tech-world equivalent of the Stockholm syndrome. These people, like a lot of us, recognize Steve Jobs’ failings as a human being, but that doesn’t stop us tuning into his presentations en masse, and buying his innovative products.
If you don’t know much about the life and times of Steve Jobs, buy Walter Isaacson’s book – Steve Jobs, because this film isn’t going to start from point A and lead you to B. This movie is rated R for bad language.
The three different time periods covered in this movie were filmed using 16mm, 35mm and digital to represent Steve Jobs’ evolution through technology. It’s a great idea, and a cinema visit is the best way to appreciate this movie’s photography. If you wait for the rental, a HD screening on a nice big TV is the way to go. Ironically, I wouldn’t suggest you watch this on your iPad or iPhone!
Steve Jobs’ most cruel moment in the film happens early on, when he tells Lisa, his 5-year-old daughter, the name of the ‘L.I.S.A.’ computer was just a coincidence, and not in fact, named after her. It’s a truly heart breaking scene.