A story properly told at last – Steve Jobs review

As an avid user of Apple products – I own an iPhone, an iPad and a Macbook Pro – I have always been curious about the company’s history. Also, following the death of co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs back in 2012, I realised I didn’t really know that much about such a powerful figure. So how did the new film based on Jobs turn out?

The film itself is set within three specific and very significant points in Steve Jobs’ career, starting  with the release of the Mackintosh, to Jobs’ non-Apple venture, to the ultimate iMac release in 1998. The film is very much separated into three acts, all of which take place pretty much backstage to the above listed product launches.

First of all, I want to praise Michael Fassbender’s performance in the title role – absolutely bloody superb. Throughout the entire movie he kept me hooked. Charismatic and authoritative, he never fails to impress. Yes, that Irish accent does occasionally sneak its way through, but who really gives a shit – give him a break.

The man behind Apple. (© – Universal Pictures)

Jeff Daniels man, Jeff Daniels. He plays the part of John Scully, former CEO of Apple. He has continuously shown us that he’s not just a pure wee dafty meant for oddball comedies – of course I mean Dumb and Dumber. His efforts in serious roles are really second-to-none. There wasn’t a single point during Steve Jobs where I wasn’t convinced by his performance. Keep em coming Jeff, you are exceptional.

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple is played by Seth Rogen. Although he doesn’t get much screen time, he does well with what he has. He may be one of our favourite comedy actors, but this could mark the beginning of a new time for Rogen. There are a few moments in it, especially an argument with Jobs towards the end of the film, which really are truly special and made me believe that Rogen has potential. He should definitely keep going for it, I want more from serious Seth.

Finally, Kate Winslet was excellent as expected. Playing the part of Apple marketing executive Joanna Hoffman, she made it very clear how stressful the life of someone close to Jobs’ back then would have been. Very much the moral voice of reason to Jobs whilst he bullied his way through product launches, the chemistry between Winslet and Fassbender made their friendship all the more interesting to watch, especially considering their personalities are world’s apart. I would certainly like to see them working together in future.

Steve and Steve. (© – Universal Pictures)

So aye, no complaints at all about the cast. What else can I praise eh? Well, Danny Boyle’s direction is stellar. Perhaps this is one of his more disciplined pictures, but in no ways is that a bad thing. The major effort and passion put into the film is evident as we traverse through expertly edited long shots, and there is still room for little signature touches from Boyle – for example stylish uses of mirrors and the burst of colours and distorted imagery towards the end.

The decision to range the way the film is shot as we move through the years is one of the most striking things about the film. We start off with rough 16mm, to 35mm to clear cut digital. A tremendous choice which ultimately reflects Apple’s progress towards success.

Who really deserves the most praise in Steve Jobs though? The answer is Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin is the screenwriter for the movie, and is one of the main reasons I was so excited to see this. For those who don’t know about Sorkin’s work, he wrote the screenplay for masterpiece The Social Network. The Social Network truly showcased Sorkin’s talent as a writer, giving plenty of time to the actors to blow us away with aggressive, unrelenting, flowing dialogue. Steve Jobs is no different.

The bold three-act structure is beautifully put together and flows excellently. The combo of Boyle and Sorkin is one I hope we’ll see again in another biopic, perhaps a Pirate Bay story? You heard it here first guys!

Without Sorkin Steve Jobs would have been pretty shite I would say. In each of the three acts we get hit with quick-fire walk-and-talk dialogue. This really drew me in and kept me completely engrossed. Every word seemed to be so natural, but still felt essential to the story. Complete Sorkin-porn; I love it!

Check out a small clip featuring a conflict between the two co-founders.

It’s hard not to see the similarities between Steve Jobs and The Social Network. Both feature a protagonist who doesn’t seem to get on with people overly well due to their over-investment of affection in their ‘business’. For Zuckerberg it was code and creation, for Jobs it was success with machines. Both figures appear to be sociopaths, but we soon see they realise what a total dick they’re being.

However, as much as I enjoyed Danny Boyle’s take on it, I really really really wish David Fincher (director of The Social Network) directed. Can you imagine what Fincher and Sorkin could have done with such a complex figure? This interpretation of Steve Jobs’ personality is still scarily ice cold, and presents him as many things – a genius, a ‘player of the orchestra’, a father, a softy, and a prick. But perhaps if the story was told the way Fincher wanted it to be told, we’d get more of an understanding of the character. The Social Network is pure dynamite, whereas Steve Jobs just misses the cut.

Be careful to avoid the 2013 film called Jobs. Starring Ashton Kutcher in the titular role, it was absolute mince. This movie is miles ahead.

To sum it up then, Steve Jobs is an excellent biopic. It’s unique, brilliant structure coupled with the engrossing, fiery dialogue is enough to make a movie enjoyable alone. Wonderfully we also have excellent performances all round, especially from the titular Steve Jobs played by Michael Fassbender. I would rather David Fincher in the directors chair, but hiy, Danny Boyle done a great job. To what extent any of what happens is true is unknown, but I certainly enjoyed this take on one of the most influential figures in technological history. iLoved Steve Jobs.

Rating: Crackin

Have a look at the trailer:

What do you think? Were you numbingly bored during Steve Jobs? Will you be going to see this at the cinema? Let me know in the comments below or send a tweet to @frew_cameron.



Published by

Cameron Frew

Freelance film writer. Words on Flickering Myth, Bloody Disgusting, Movie Corner UK and Jumpcut Online. My five favourite films are: 1. The Goonies 2. Forrest Gump 3. The Shawshank Redemption 4. Warrior 5. Whiplash

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