Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs does a great job capturing the drama surrounding the Apple innovator, but fails at digging deeper into the man himself. Sorkin's script is fast-paced and heavy-handed, while Boyle's direction is a tad repetitive. The film lacks certain depth, but makes up for it with its handful of Oscar-worthy performances, including Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels and Michael Fassbender.
Danny Boyle‘s stab at a Steve Jobs biopic fairs much better than the previous Ashton Kutcher-starring adaptation, but only because of the never-ending talent both in front of and behind the lens. Steve Jobs is still a lopsided film, focusing far too much on surface-level drama and Apple turmoil instead of focusing on the man himself. Aaron Sorkin‘s script lends plenty of drama, but overall Boyle’s film feels like a more focused retread that’s been covered before only this time with a more well-rounded cast.
Steve Jobs will forever be known as one of the biggest innovators in computer technology, more specifically with his work at Apple. He helped bring the Mac to life, while eventually introducing the world to iPods and iPhones during his later days.
He was also a major asshole and most knew this openly. Yet people worked with him, because of his weird ideas that turned moving machines into works of art and because of his visions for change, despite his success at becoming one of the biggest pricks of all-time.
Danny Boyle‘s film Steve Jobs doesn’t attempt to tell us the entire story of Jobs, instead focusing on three key product launches and the surrounding drama.
This three chunk structure of the film sort of cripples the story from moving any further or deeper. It offers an interesting insight on Jobs and his progression (or lack thereof) as an innovator, but it also headlocks the rest of the characters and gives us a strong feeling of repetition.
Aaron Sorkin‘s script amps up the intensity and makes you sweat over gigabytes and external connector ports as if they were life or death topics, because Sorkin knows how to turn just about anything into dramatic gold and who better than the notoriously serious and God-like Steve Jobs?
Seriously, Jobs often refers to himself as a higher power in the film and whether or not that’s based off of true statements it totally fits him in the context of the film.
Michael Fassbender plays the controversial man with his usual brand of A-class acting, but he never quite manages to make it feel right. Fassbender is a talented performer and he does a fantastic job trying to be Steve Jobs, but he never quite fits the bill and I blame that on a poor casting call. He swings for the fences definitely accomplishes the general mannerisms of Steve, but just doesn’t look or sound like the man all that much and that’s distracting to most that are familiar with Jobs in any slight way.
Kate Winslet deserves most of the praise as Jobs’ assistant Joanna Hoffman. She’s not only Jobs’ own voice of reason and morality checker, but she’s also a fascinating individual that may not understand all of the tech blabber, but certainly knows how to stand tall next to everyone else and make sense of it.
Winslet completely loses herself in the role and becomes something that you almost forget is a performance. She looks, walks and talks like Hoffman and her character adds the much-needed human element missing from the film, thanks to Boyle and Sorkin’s tight focus on the cold and sometimes downright heartless Jobs.
Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels create equally interesting supporting roles that nudge into the film’s three acts with enough importance and reason to worthy their sweet and short slices of screen time.
Steve Jobs really is a film that works more so because of its performances than its writing or directing. Boyle attempts to add a little dash of style by shooting the movie with film towards the beginning and then digital later on, but it’s a stylistic choice that will barely be noticeable to the common movie-goer.
He also tries to infuse his usual editing tricks in the background of the film and I found that more distracting than helpful in terms of the film’s tone. It’s awfully hard to concentrate on a scene of intense dialogue when random news blurbs are shooting across the back walls.
I mentioned Sorkin’s script before and I’ll mention it again, because it really is much better than the previous attempt at a Jobs film, but it’s also one of Sorkin’s most limited scripts, focusing more on the overall presentation of the three act film versus an actual honest to God look at Steve Jobs himself.
The structure of the film holds back any exploration into Jobs or the people that surrounded him, because there’s never enough time spent on one section. Everything is heightened and blown up, only to be revisited in another decade, which things again blow up.
Steve Jobs is a leveled look at the popular innovator that never really bothers taking sides. Danny Boyle‘s direction is clean and steady, while Sorkin’s script is big and heavy, trying to put such strong importance on the littlest of things. The film mostly works, but only because of its strong actors that give performances that are far more complex than the script itself, which is what you tend to get when you hire pros like Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, Michael Fassbender and even Seth Rogen.
I wouldn’t call this the definitive Steve Jobs biopic, but it covers enough ground for Hollywood to leave the man alone for a decade or two.