Looking at the life of a man is always a tricky and occasionally murky affair, but when you focus on a moment, sometimes just sometimes you can find everything that ultimately encapsulates him. As yet another movie about enigmatic founder of Apple computers hits screens everywhere, Steve Jobs does something substantially different as it isn’t so much a story of his life but it captures those moments where Jobs is at his most exposed and interacting with everyone from his inner circle to his devoted fans while he is changing the landscape of modern computing as we know it.
Steve Jobs was a man that threw every bit of who he was into his products, so it is only fitting that Steve Jobs takes into the man’s life during three of his key product launches ending with the iMac in 1998 as we see the impending digital revolution through the eyes of the man who saw it before any of us. It also shows us his cold nature in his interactions with his closest confidants in whom he inspired such unfathomable loyalty.
Not a standard bio pic by any stretch of the imagination, Steve Jobs manages to succeed in spite of some awkward gaps in the narrative thanks to some powerhouse performances that fill those gaps and then some as we get a unique and fresh take on the tired format of the biographical film.
Director Danny Boyle tackles a near impossible task with a master aplomb as both he and writer Aaron Sorkin are making new rules for this kind of picture. It’s Oscar bait without a doubt, but almost shockingly and brashly so as bio pics are rarely this damn cinematic. Boyle gives the man and his life scope as he abuses those around him and inspires a generation leading a digital movement before anyone ever realized that he was actually doing it. A typically wordy script from Aaron Sorkin, but this just might be one of those movies that he was born to write as the thickly layered dialogue plays so damn well in this world and just draws us further into it as the entire ensemble was ready for the material.
Michael Fassbender just might be lining up that Oscar on his podium as he captures the charismatic and socially vicious nature of the man that was Steve Jobs. It’s no secret that he wasn’t very likeable at times, but rather then play him just straight as a misunderstood bastard; Fassbender walks the fine line and gives him humanity and humor right alongside his emotionally cold and brutal side. Kate Winslet is near unrecognizable as his long time confident Joanna Hoffman and both Michael Sthulbarg and Jeff Daniels as Andy Hertzfeld and John Scully match Fassbender’s pure electricity on screen as this is very much a movie that plays out in conversation and verbal dueling. Sadly not everyone is up to the task as we still can’t unsee Seth Rogan as Steve Wosniak and Katherine Waterston as Chrisann Brennan never lives up to the magic that we saw in Inherent Vice.
It is far from a master stroke, but much like the life of the man himself Steve Jobs shows some flashes of real genius on all levels which makes for a bold but somewhat unbalance experience for those looking for something a little more straight ahead.