Monday 16 November 2015

Steve Jobs - Movie Review by Carleton Rutter

Directed by: Danny Boyle
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels
Genre: Biography

So, in a nutshell?
The movie concentrates on the life of visionary Apple CEO Steve Jobs through the 1980's and 1990's era.

So, what are my thoughts?
Steve Jobs premiered at the Telluride Film Festival back in September. Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) ​and penned by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing). Steve Jobs ​offers another insight into the life of the late legendary entrepreneur.  This is not the first time Jobs has had films dedicated to his life, Ashton Kutcher portrayed him in Jobs (2013) whilst Noah Wyle (ER) ​portrayed him in the TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999) which concentrated more on his relationship with Microsoft's founder Bill Gates, played by Anthony Michael Hall (The Breakfast Club, Vacation).

I enjoyed Steve Jobs more than I thought I would. Although based on actual events, Steve Jobs like many biographical movies takes liberties with the truth. However the thing is I didn't mind as I was invested in the human drama. The late CEO of Apple was certainly in real life an icon, so he was perhaps always destined to receive the big screen treatment, however I never thought it would ever make the most compelling subject for a mainstream movie.

Steve Jobs ​​is essentially split into three acts as it deals with the launch of three pivotal products during the 1980's-90's. Namely the Mac - 1984, Job's break away NeXT computer - 1988, and the iMac in 1998. The movie does not cover products launched by Jobs in his later years such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

​Where Steve Jobs succeeds is firstly through its strong central portrayal by Fassbender. Save a few shots he doesn't really resemble the man himself, but he certainly embodies the essence of who he was. The movie also has many of Boyle's trademarks, which I appreciated. The script by Aaron Sorkin as well soars as I became more and more invested in the story which basically involved three product launches for computers, and if you can make that engaging, you know you've done something right. There was no mistaking that this script was penned by the same man as The West Wing.

The movie is also strong from a visual standpoint, adopting a very original idea. The decision was made to shoot the three acts on three different formats: grainy 16mm film for 1984, lustrous 35mm for 1988, and sleek, high-definition digital for 1998. This really helped place the three launches in their respective era's.

Fassbender is also very well supported by a good cast. Kate Winslet is the main supporting player as Job's head of marketing Joanna Hoffman. Jeff Daniels was great as John Sculley the former CEO of Apple and it was refreshing to see Seth Rogen show us what he's got as an actor when he leaves the smutty laughs behind, in his portrayal of Steve Wozniak.

The movie lasts for just a shade over two hours, but thanks to Aaron Sorkin's zesty script things fly by. The movie does have two main issues though. Chief among being that the movie spends all it's time building you up to each launch that when the time comes for you to see it, you are unceremoniously flashed forward to the next one. After the tension was expertly risen before each presentation it would have been nice to see a least a snippet of the launches themselves.

Another issue is that despite the strong direction, acting and script not a huge amount happens in the movie. This is very much a character study piece and one that some have said is more of a character assassination of Jobs. I don't agree, I had heard going in that the movie offers a very negative portrayal of the man. However he came across more human than I thought he would.

My Rating - 

I enjoyed Steve Jobs thanks to good direction, a well written script, a strong lead performance from Fassbender and a good cast it served to be an engaging movie. However due to it's subject matter, unless you are particularly interested in Steve Jobs himself or a fan of Fassbender, I don't think you necessarily need to check it out at the cinema, streaming is enough. Oh yes and "One more thing" if you are viewing this review on an iPhone, iPad or Macbook Pro, just take a moment to think of the man who made it happen.

Review By Carleton Rutter