Steve Jobs Review

Steve Jobs is a 2015 bio-drama written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle. Based on the biography written by Walter Isaacson, the film was nominated for two Oscars for Michael Fassbender as Jobs and Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, Apple's chief marketing executive.

The film's three acts are literally divided into three presentations Jobs gave during his lifetime; the launch of the Mac, the NEXT computer and the iMac in 1998. The film is a character study of who Steve Jobs was and why he acted the way he did.

The character of Steve Jobs is what makes this film so interesting because it's fascinating to think that a guy this insane and energetic actually existed. It's also interesting to see him learn through the years and become a better man. The best way the film illustrates his changing nature is his relationship with his daughter. At first, he's stubborn in his belief that she's not actually his daughter, no matter how much evidence there is. In the middle story, however, we see that he's finally acknowledged the facts and mellowed up to her a little, taking responsibility for her well-being mostly out of obligation. In the final act, we see him as a tender, loving father, a kinder man than he was in his younger years. By focussing on the relationship with his daughter, the film is able to focus on one aspect of Jobs' personality, the motivated asshole, and observe how it softened over his lifetime.

I've always had my issues with Aaron Sorkin because his dialogue was always too stylized. I could never really imagine people talking like this. Plus, when your script is nothing but dialogue, there's very little opportunity for a director to do anything visually interesting with a scene. The one exception to this, up til now, was The Social Network, where the dialogue was de-Sorkinified a bit to make it sound more realistic. However, with Steve Jobs, there is now a second exception, even though none of the dialogue is toned down. Most of that is because director Danny Boyle keeps the pace going so that it never feels slow or boring. He's able to do this by putting a time limit on everything that needs to get done, since everything in the film happens right before a big computer reveal. Thus, Steve needs to get things fixed up for the reveal, deal with his daughter and her mother, Joanna's nagging him to change things and his conflicts with his former coworkers at Apple all in the ten minute span before the computer is actually revealed. I also think part of the reason it works is because Steve Jobs, the human being, was well known for being unnecessarily hurtful and bullying. And when you have a man with that kind of personality mixed with high tensions on- and backstage it makes sense that everybody would be throwing weighted insults and biting quips at each other.

We have, once again, another minimalist film in that there isn't a lot of spectacle or intricacy to it. Plus, even though Danny Boyle is good at directing Sorkin's dialog he's not as good as David Fincher, who knew how to tell the story of a conversation just through the blocking and editing. However, what Boyle is good at is making the environments feel alive through set design. The colors are all bright and lively, helping enforce the energy of each scene as Jobs goes from one temper-straining crisis to another. They also help tell the story emotionally; a lot of times, I noticed that when they were talking about things like how the computers operated or what they were going to do for the presentation it was shot in white, Apple-like light, conveying they were talking about information. However, in times of emotion, particularly with his daughter and ex-girlfriend, the entire room was bright red, conveying passion, anger and other uncontrolled emotions. This changes at the end, though, in the third act, where nearly everything is wall to wall Apple white, which symbolizes Jobs' more controlled emotional state.

The colors also extend to Jobs' costume design in acts one and two. In act one, he's still at Apple and he wears a clean, white t-shirt. However, in act two he's at his new company, NEXT, at which he wears a black suit, symbolizing his cut ties from Apple Inc and that he's in direct opposition to the people who still run his old company.

The cinematography is worth mentioning for the fact that Boyle decided to use three different cameras to shoot the three acts. The first act, set in the 1980s, was shot in 16mm. The second act, set in 1993, was shot in 35mm. Finally, the last act, set in 1998, is shot with a digital camera. This was meant to show the evolution of technology over the 16 years of Steve Jobs' life the film covers.

Though the opening titles may seem like a small thing to talk about, I thought it was a cool tone setter. While they show old footage of a man talking about the future of personal computers they have the main credits go down the screen line by line, like you'd see on a computer. I thought it was a good way to not only pay homage to the subject material, but also keep the audience from getting bored during the credits, easily the most boring part of any film.

The cast of this film is a powerhouse of acting talent and they bring their A-game. In the hands of these seasoned thespians Aaron Sorkin's dialogue sounds like it's coming off the top of their heads. Michael Fassbender gives an intense, captivating performance as Steve Jobs and Kate Winslet portrays Hoffman's sharp wit and determination to stand up to Jobs excellently. The biggest surprise, however, comes from, unbelievably, Seth Rogan, who's completely unrecognizable as Jobs' partner Steve Wozniak. He turns in a complex performance of a quiet, but determined man who just wants some recognition from the work he's done for his friend.

Summary: Even though Steve Jobs is an extremely good movie and you should go see it, I'm honestly going to strongly suggest you read the biography the film was based on even more so. It paints a much more complex, three dimensional picture of Steve Jobs whereas this movie just portays the abusive prick part of his personality. However, this is still a well-written, well-acted, well-directed movie that you should definitely see. You'll certainly never be bored.



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