You'd think that Steve
Jobs had a fascinating life. After all, the man changed the world, became a
multi-billionaire, was the face for creating some of the most important
technological advances of all time, was a well-known eligible bachelor, ran
one of the biggest corporations in the world and died at a tragically young
This is the third film on
Jobs' life that has been released in the past year. First off was the
misbegotten docudrama Jobs (Ashton Kutcher as Jobs? Really?). Next
out of the gate was master documentarian Alex Gibney's Steve Jobs: The
Man in the Machine.
The latest film, Steve
Jobs, which was written by Oscar-winning scribe Aaron Sorkin (The
Social Network) and directed by fellow Oscar winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog
Millionaire), is far and away the better of the two fictional
dramatizations of Jobs' life. (I haven't seen the documentary, but as good
as it may have been I doubt it was as impressive of a piece of sheer
filmmaking as this one as well.)
In many ways Steve
Jobs is a masterpiece. It is evocatively written. The acting is
spectacular. The cinematography is arresting. It has huge, majestic
visuals and intimate, quiet moments of self-doubt and pity. Actor Michael
Fassbender does an incredible impersonation of Jobs, even to the point of
looking surprisingly much like the executive in the later scenes.
However, no matter how
good Steve Jobs is – and it is a terrific film in most ways – it
highlights the very basic problem with making a film about Steve Jobs. His
life simply wasn't all that interesting. He did not create most of the
technologies for which he was known. (These were mostly done by Apple
scientists, particularly his less flashy, more wonkish partner Steve
Wozniak.) Jobs was the salesman, the huckster, the idea man who got them
out to the world.
Which in itself is a huge
talent and a skill, but not necessarily the most cinematic skill in the
world. In fact, for as well-made as Steve Jobs is, it mostly shows
that for a man that was at the forefront of so much of recent history, Steve
Job's life was actually kind of dull. And, frankly, he was more than a bit
of an asshole.
Of course, similar things
could be said about Sorkin's similar 2011 bio-pic of Facebook founder Mark
Zuckerberg, The Social Network, and while that film was terrific and
all of those things, it was also just a bit more accessible to an audience.
actually has a very regimented structure, not letting much of the man into
his own biography.
The film focuses on three
product launches at different points in Jobs' career. Each product launch
is beset by ramped up versions of the same subjects.
A last minute technical
glitch threatens to ruin the launch, causing the scientists to scramble to
fix things. Jobs threatens and cajoles his scientists – particularly
Wozniak (a spot-on Seth Rogan) and Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) – to
get things up and running or it will be their jobs.
assistant Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) tries to calm her over-caffeinated
perfectionist boss and to keep everything running smoothly for the launch.
Jobs butts heads with his
immediate superior up the food chain at Apple (and eventually his
predecessor), John Sculley (played by Jeff Daniels).
And Jobs tries to come to
some kind of relationship with his out-of-wedlock daughter (played at
different ages by Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo and Makenzie Moss) – who
he spends much of the film denying paternity for – even though it is very
strained. Just a thought, but that may be because A) he denies he is her
father, B) he is passive-aggressively dismissive to his ex/her mother and C) he
punishes her for getting bad grades by reneging on a promise to pay her
It's all very fast paced,
written with the familiar zingy, smart Sorkin dialogue, it is flashy, shiny
and insanely well-made. And yet, in the end, the audience can't help but
feel that they spent two hours of their life watching nothing much happen.
That nothing much
happened with exceptional artistic thrust and focus, but in the long run it
sort of feels like a shiny, fancy trinket that we are impressed by, but had
no real need for.
Sort of like an Apple
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2015 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November