Steve Jobs: Film Review

I think I am in the minority when I say I don’t see Steve Jobs as some sort of tech God. Yes, I can acknowledge everything he has done for the industry and how he helped revolutionise it, but as someone who doesn’t buy Apple products or read about tech, I was very unaware of his whole story. I have never seen a Steve Jobs biopic until now, so I probably found this way more interesting than tech nerds who know everything about him already.

The film is based around three product launches between 1984 and 1998. In 1984, we see Jobs (Michael Fassbender) preparing to launch the Macintosh following the failure of the Apple Lisa the year before. He is joined by Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), his marketing manager and “work wife”, and engineer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) as they try to get around the issue that the computer cannot say Hello like it should. He has a disagreement with co-founder Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) and deals with his ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston). She is asking for more money for their daughter Lisa, who Jobs refuses to acknowledge as his.

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It switches to 1988, with Jobs ousted from Apple by CEO John Sculley (). He is launching the NeXT computer for schools. The behind-the-scenes action follows similar ground with Jobs having disagreements with old Apple colleagues who turn up to his launch, and another encounter with Brennan, and Hoffman is just trying to keep it all together. The best is saved for last in 1994, when Jobs has been made CEO of Apple to save the flagging company and he is about to launch the iMac, which will turn its fortunes around. He has a massive argument with Wozniak about giving credit to Apple II designers, with Hertzfeld about paying Lisa’s college tuition and with Lisa about generally being a shit dad.

I really like the structure to this film because I haven’t seen it done before and it gives a fresh angle for people that have seen all the previous Steve Jobs biopics.  It is like a snapshot of key moments rather a whole story about his entire life, but you can fill in the time gaps easily with the use of flashbacks and news reporting reels between each jump.

Fassbender does not look much like Jobs, but I didn’t think about that much after the first 10-15 minutes. Like I said, I really don’t know much about the man so I cannot speak on the accuracy of his speech or mannerisms, but I thought Fassbender’s acting was incredible. He never disappoints me and always gives it 100%. Jobs is not shown to be a nice man, in fact, he was a demanding, unforgiving arsehole who just happened to be a visionary. Fassbender still makes him watchable and gives light and shade to prove he wasn’t mean all the time.

I thought all the supporting players brought it – I saw no weak link at all. You can see the struggle Wozniak and Hertzfeld have working for someone so horrible and infuriating. Winslet was on par with Fassbender – they share the screen together a lot and their working relationship is fraught. You can see they love, trust and support each other but she has a tough time keeping his dramas from affecting the company. I also thought Daniels was brilliant in one argument scene with Jobs.

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This is an Aaron Sorkin-written movie, so naturally, it is incredibly dialogue heavy. But it is so dynamic and has heightened drama because all this shit is going down with moments to go before a launch. The camera follows Jobs around backstage so there is a lot of movement, so it never becomes boring. I found all the dialogue fascinating and the power struggles exciting. From what I’ve read it seems like it’s not too truthful to real life, but this is incredibly enjoyable, informative piece of drama elevated by impressive performances by everyone in the cast.

In cinemas now 

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