Steve Jobs (2015)
written by Aaron Sorkin
based on the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
directed by Danny Boyle
At the beginning of Steve Jobs, a biopic about the co-founder and CEO of tech titan Apple Inc., Jobs (Michael Fassbender) insistently complains to designer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) about a glitch in a demo. As you watch it, you can’t help but think that Fassbender looks nothing like the real Jobs: His face is angular, whereas Jobs was rounder; his eyes are lighter, while Jobs’ were darker; his build is decidedly more fit than the late mogul’s. Yet two more minutes into the movie these physical details become completely unimportant. As Jobs suddenly says “Fuck you, fix it,” you realize that what director Danny Boyle’s really looking for is the essence of Jobs – the mercurial personality, the arrogance, the manipulative mastermind. And boy, does Fassbender deliver.
As movies based on famous people go, Steve Jobs goes against the grain by concentrating on three major technological events in Jobs’ career: The unveiling of the Macintosh computer in 1984, the NeXT launch in 1988, and the legendary iMac release of 1998. But we never see the actual presentations, just Jobs and his team prepping backstage. This framing device may sound a bit theatrical but it pays off, buoyed by a wordy Aaron Sorkin script (is there any other kind?) in which every piece of dialogue, every discussion, every conversation is meant to reveal character. If there are any faults it’s in the inclusion of a rather syrupy finale in which Jobs attempts to connect with his estranged daughter, which seems out of place in a film that for most of its running time avoids the usual biopic clichés.
No big deal, though. Steve Jobs feels kind of lose and unrestrained by the usual demands for veracity. Boyle and Sorkin are as interested in Jobs the myth as they are the man: They know that the public at large has a divided opinion on Jobs – genius or bully; trendsetter or opportunist – and that Jobs himself probably played with such expectations, becoming not only a successful businessman but also a brand… much like his personal computers. Fassbender is up to this challenge and more. He knocks it out of the park.
Rating: ***½ | Very Good
Carlos I. Cuevas