Have you ever been told an honest or depressing story you wish you could “un-hear”? That’s what it feels like to watch Steve Jobs. Divided up into three dramatic acts, Steve Jobs takes place in the final minutes before three different product launches. In each sequence we meet technology mogul Steve Jobs at different points in his career, first with Apple, then without, then with again. In each scenario Jobs is captured barking orders, bullying employees and arguing about the potential and price of the products being unveiled that day. Amongst this professional chaos is also personal turmoil. We bare witness to his disruptive and complex relationship with his daughter Lisa and her mother. Even more so than The Social Network, Steve Jobs is not interested in telling a life story. It’s about one individual’s career and his relentless ambition to dominate the personal computer market. Set between 1984 and 1998, Steve Jobs gives us three detailed insights into both a man and a monster, deeply flawed but deeply passionate. Getting Steve Jobs to the screen has been a long and troubled journey with several studios, directors and actors backing out along the way. For a long time it seemed as though Aaron Sorkin’s script would never get made into a movie but now it has with the help of an expert director, a terrific cast and a commanding central performance from Michael Fassbender.
It’s apparent from very early on that there is one major variation between this and David Fincher’s The Social Network; although both were written by Sorkin, it’s clear that he dislikes Jobs a lot more than he dislikes Zuckerberg. There are very few redeeming qualities to be found in Jobs, outside of his entrepreneurial vision and creation. Fassbender is outstanding – ferocious and unrelenting. Kate Winslet brings an element of the humane to the story, playing Jobs’ head of marketing and closest confidant. Winslet brings wit and warmth in the film’s most pressurised scenes. Jeff Daniels and Seth Rogen also give stellar performances, transforming from friends to enemies to exasperated onlookers as time passes. The dialogue is unforgiving – each segment overflowing with words, never resting or slowing. Amongst the performances and the script Danny Boyle’s direction becomes a little lost, giving way to the characters – fuelled by Sorkin’s writing. Everything feels a little claustrophobic in Steve Jobs. Director, writer and performers succeed in creating a world of tension and anger that takes place in the backstage areas of theatres. It’s an easy world to admire but a hard world to enjoy. You’ll be pleased to leave the company of all involved. Jobs has its admirable qualities but ultimately feels a little unpleasant and deflating – the story of a miserable, monstrous man we’d rather not have been told.
Thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry.