Dir: Danny Boyle (2015)
There was a part of everyone which cried a little “why?” when it was announced that Danny Boyle would get his electric hands on Steve Jobs. Joshua Michael Stern‘s Ashton Kutcher film Jobs seemed to be focused on what makes a true entrepreneur; It stayed the course for a decent enough origins story. It was certainly a straight shooter of a film but the straightness laid bare its simplicity, both as a film and towards its subject. Aaron Sorkin‘s sharp, talky backstage film presents a version (or versions) of Jobs much like the devices ready for launch over three different dates; Locked, mysterious and, ultimately, not quite fully formed.
Charismatic fleshy acting machine Michael Fassbender rules the show for the most part. His Jobs is a brooding, unlikeable, bitter and stubborn soul; Singular and cutting with his entire team and with those around him including his long suffering marketing chief Joanna Hoffman (a fantastic Kate Winslet) and a forever sidelined Steve Wozniak (an under used Seth Rogen). His ex wife (an always on point Katherine Waterson), is pressing for cash, the relationship with his daughter, Lisa, is ignored, denied and reckoned with (eventually) but it seems that everyone around him is tired of his encroaching god complex.
Sorkin and Boyle set us behind the velvet curtain of the the launches of the Apple Macintosh in 1984, the almost perfectly square NeXT Computer in 1988 and the world beating iMac in 1998; This three act structure, examining pure character, is one of the main strengths of Steve Jobs. Each year revisiting Job’s life enhances, upgrades and mirrors his own impenetrable OS with that of his machines. He didn’t want anyone getting inside anything and Sorkin rather expertly takes that system flaw to his character letting Fassbender really bite down.
Sorkin, regrettably, throws in a few all too easy flashback sequences but the design, performances and the execution are, fittingly, Steve Jobs real joy. A sort of brooding father to The Social Network‘s petulant child, the film harnesses Sorkin’s pathological obsession with veiled conversation and Boyle’s training and comfort being backstage at the British theatre shines. Not since Shallow Grave has the director paired back his visual flair so much and the cast deliver with Winslet steeling the final act as the woman closest to Job’s heart and mind.