Steve Jobs (15) | Close-Up Film Review
Dir. Danny Boyle, US, 2015, 122 mins
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston
Written by Aaron Sorkin (the creative mind behind 2010’s The Social Network and 2011’s Moneyball), and directed by Danny Boyle (the mastermind behind a number of smash hit films such as 1996’s Trainspotting, 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, and 2010’s 127 Hours) this is not the first time Boyle has dived into personal biographies. However in tackling the recent history that is of the life and work of Steve Jobs, the enigmatic Apple co-founder, chairman and eventually CEO before the Apple takeover of the late 90s, Boyle has tasked himself with dissecting the many myths that surround this complex character.
Detailing the start of the digital revolution of the 90s in which the Mackintosh played a huge part in cultivating the brand’s hugely loyal fan-base, the film follows three of the brands most ambitious product launches as the film builds an intimate portrait of the man at the heart of the Apple brand.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of this version (not to be confused with the not-so-hot 2013 version starring Ashton Kutcher, aptly named Jobs) is its pacing and in its scope not limiting itself to any one aspect of Jobs’ character, in some elements being brutally honest.
Essentially the film says two thing: yes Jobs was a creative genius, singlehandedly carrying the Apple name to historic heights, and yes he was not always nice, mostly sarcastic, at times quite cruel and calculated but can we not forgive these things for his many achievements in the technological field?
Much of the film recounts the (private) backstage dealings of Jobs (Fassbender), Hoffman (Winslet), Wosniak (Rogen), Sculley (Daniels) and Hertzfeld (Stuhlbarg) as we see the rise and fall of the Apple empire and its many employees. Boyle stays away from Jobs’ more public persona, choosing not to detail any of his many official speeches. Instead Boyle focuses on his character and his relationships with those closest to him, with particular references to his rocky relationship with his eldest daughter Lisa Brennan, her mother Chrisann Brennan (Inherent Vice’s Katherine Waterston) and his close personal relationship with assistant Joanna Hoffman.
The film is well written and well acted. Fassbender’s transformation for the role is astounding. Sorkin is sublime in keeping up the film’s pacy tempo and adding to it the emotional highs and comical undertones needed for a very balanced biopic. He includes subtle yet meaningful changes and revelations in character; Sorkin’s screenplay really allows audiences to get to the center of many of the films central actors instead of using them as porn in advancing the Jobs ideology. This matched with Boyle’s pitch perfect direction allows all that Sorkin conjured on the page to coalesce in the upmost beauty and seamlessness as the film achieves, at many moments in the film, a near complete suspension of belief.
Rogen, Daniels, Winslet, Waterston, Stuhlbarg and young newcomer Mekenzie Moss (playing Lisa Brennan, aged 5) hold their own in a film inhabited by the overpowering aroma that is Steve Jobs. Then to Fassbender; a man who has done so little wrong in his lengthy acting oeuvre. He plays Jobs with such conviction, such inflated egotistical narcissism and brutal honesty that it is a wonder he wasn’t pegged for the role sooner.
Review by Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark