Published Oct 16, 2015Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is a complicated character. For all the good he brought the world with his innovations, there seem to be as many stories about his malevolence, wrongdoing and all-around dickishness.
On the surface, he seems like the perfect real-life figure to portray on film, but whether it's fiction or non-fiction, audiences seems to be universally unappeased by the silver screen's depictions of the onetime King of Cupertino.
It's impossible to encapsulate everything Jobs did and meant to the world at large, which is probably why critically acclaimed director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin decided to simplify things a bit for Steve Jobs.
Rather than tell all the tales from Jobs' life — the ones that barely fit into biographer Walter Isaacson's 656 page tome on which this movie is based — Sorkin has taken three distinct scenes set years apart from one another. All of them take place some 40 minutes before one of Jobs' now world-renowned product launches, in 1984, 1988 and 1998, and infused the recurring characters involved in each with enough charisma and silver-tongued wordplay to make it feel like its part pseudo-psychoanalysis, part theater. West Wing disciples may not find much to mull over, but this is Sorkin at his cleanest, and it seems to suit him best.
Boyle similarly follows suit. The frenetic cut scenes and off-kilter camera angles that the Slumdog Millionaire director has become known for since his early days are gone in favour of drawn-out takes that truly exemplify the essence — although somewhat impressionistically — of its characters through candid conversations with one another and monologues that are so well-constructed they seem like borderline Shakespearean soliloquies.
Because of this, Steve Jobs is definitely not for everyone, even for fans of either director or writer (star Michael Fassbender's only vaguely reminiscent take on the tech titan — what with his odd accent, mannerisms and downright lack of visual similarities — will probably make matters worse). But don't underestimate the impact of this film; Steve Jobs may come across as more of a bump in the road than the sweeping cinematic affairs its director, writer and stars (Kate Winslet, who plays the stern but ultimately in-control and revolutionary marketing executive Joanna Hoffman, and even Seth Rogen, as the ever watchful and caring Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, among them) have mostly become known for, but its by far the most interesting and engaging take yet on a man that many people knew about, but few fully understood.