Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint an intimate portrait of the brilliant man at its epicenter.
I’m going to star this review by saying that I’m not exactly Apple’s biggest fanboy. I own an iPod, sure, but it’s several models out of date and I have no intention of upgrading anytime soon. I use a Kindle Fire over a iPad and my Nokia Phone, well, it’s so far away from an iPhone that if it were one of Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes, there was no way Harry Potter would have been able to stop him. Were it not for the star power attached to this film I probably wouldn’t have given it a shot, but I’m really glad I did, because Steve Jobs may well end up being one of my favourite films of the year. Even if it doesn’t, it’s certainly going to be in my Top 10, because it’s so damn good.
Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) puts Michael Fassbender in the role of Steve Jobs, and takes place at the start of the digital revolution, taking us behind the scenes of the computers that revolutionarised modern technology. AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire is doing something similar on Television, but Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs tells the story through a different medium altogether, an historical biopic that follows three iconic product launches and sees the catastrophic effects that the backstage involvement had on Steve Jobs and his friends and fellow employees. Thanks to the performance of Michael Fassbender, what could have easily been a boring biopic is turned into a proper drama, and as a result, Steve Jobs never holds anything back from giving us an inside look at the man himself.
The script from Aaron Sorkin is one of the best scripts of the year. The dialogue is incredible and the movie sparks at every turn, and with the decision to take place at three product launches, the film almost feels like a play, weaving together the three scenes that tell Steve Jobs’ story overtime. In the hands of the wrong writers, the wrong actors and the wrong directors this film could have been a mess but that is far from the case, with everything fitting perfectly together to weave a captivating tale that does not disappoint.
Whilst Michael Fassbender will get all the plaudits for his performance as Jobs (if he or Boyle are overlooked at the Oscar nominations this year, it will be a snub in every sense of the word), Jeff Daniels and surprisingly, Seth Rogen, in a rare non comedic role, both put in strong performances. Kate Winslet delivers an outstanding performance as well as marketing chief Joanna Hoffman, and the actors killed it with their dialogue, emotion and passion that they were given with. It’s easily one of the strongest screenplays of the year and is one of those few films that won’t slow down, won’t provide room to breathe as you’re dragged from one conference to the next with a pace that works incredibly well. If you’re looking for a life story on Jobs, watch a documentary. Steve Jobs is not a documentary; it’s a drama, and a drama of the best sort.
Boyle doesn’t need to show the actual press conferences themselves for them to have an impact. The blend of the launch of the original Apple Macintosh in 1984 followed by the cuboid NeXt Computer in 1988 (something that I wasn’t aware of before watching this movie, because I’m not a computer expert), and finally, the iMac launch in 1998 (I think my parents still have theirs, but I’m not entirely sure whether it still works or not), It’s an interesting look that runs comparable to The Social Network in terms of themes (both look at Zuckerberg and Jobs respectively as flawed individuals), and it’s no surprise to see that they were both written by the same screenwriter. Indeed, I’m kind of interested to see what a David Fincher Steve Jobs and a Danny Boyle The Social Network would have turned out like, because both are directors at the top of their game right now.
Everything about Steve Jobs just works so damn well. It might be one of Danny Boyle’s best movies, and that’s no mean feat, because everything that I’ve seen from him so far (apart from 127 Hours, which I wasn’t too keen on), I loved. The acting, the cinematography, the screenplay, the directing, the soundtrack (Daniel Pemberton’s score is as fantastic as the use of Bob Dylan’s Shelter from the Storm at the end credits, which were well worth missing my bus to listen to, even though I had the song on my iPod, and thankfully it wasn’t too much of a worry because the next one came around 20mins later) are all superb and as a result, even if you don’t own an Apple product, and aren’t too keen on computers yourself, Steve Jobs is accessible and well worth a watch.