Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Steve Jobs: Movie Review


   


The machine side and human side of Steve Jobs are detached but interesting.
Biographical drama Steve Jobs, is a very novel approach to a biography. It’s not the story of his life, but a development of who he is based on a peek into what was happening during three different periods of time. The machine side of Steve Jobs has always been described in a cynical way – cold, manipulative and only caring about results. That side gives us this emotionally-detached methodical overview. The human side doesn’t come through until the end as a father-daughter relationship drama. 2015

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Screenplay by: Aaron Sorkin
Based on they book by Walter Isaacson

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet

The first act is set in 1984 as Steve Jobs is about to present the first Macintosh computer. There’s the backstage drama just as one might expect – Jobs needs the computer to be perfect, his workers need him to understand that not everything his perfect, and everybody needs a piece of him. Including an old girlfriend who needs money to raise his child who she has brought along. While Jobs is insisting the daughter is not his, we come to realize that he’s most likely lying.

The curious thing about the movie is that the heart is not with Jobs, or with his daughter, or with the few people who try to humanize him along the way, but is found in Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay, and not the characters but the dialogue. It’s an odd journey through the chaos that is Steve Jobs, but a quick-witted and darkly humorous one. Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs has rational arguments for who else could be the father of his daughter, Jeff Daniels as John Sculley gets to explain why he fired Steve Jobs, Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak who, after unsuccessful pleas to the human-side of Jobs, gets to tell him exactly what type of person he is, and Michael Stuhlbarg as Jobs’ long-time employee Andy Hertzfeld, often on the receiving end of Jobs’ tirades, also has his own moment to tell Jobs what type of person he is.

The movie isn’t trying to tell us whether he’s a good or bad person (although good person would certainly be a stretch) but just gives us a peek into how he operated. The second act was set just before the launch of the ill-fated NeXTcube, and knowing the results of these ventures was half of the fun in watching Steve Jobs and his never-wavering confidence. The third act was set in 1998 at the launch of the iMac – the second coming of Steve Jobs (or by this time, it might have been the twentieth coming). It features the fragile relationship with his daughter and what should be unrepairable relationships with former co-workers and employees.

The lack of humanity found in much of Steve Jobs’ interactions with other people can make the film feel very detached, but the swift pulse delivered by the screenplay keeps everything moving along, and add to that our knowledge of the aftermath of these events and Steve Jobs is interesting viewing.