Movie Review: Steve Jobs

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Film: Steve Jobs
Director: Danny Boyle
Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin
Lead Actors: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels

Composed of just three scenes and set backstage three product launches, Steve Jobs is an excellent biopic that exceeds expectations and completely outshines its predecessor, Jobs (2013). Based on the book by Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs is backed with an all-star cast, an unorthodox format, aesthetically brilliant cinematography and the screenplay of the virtuoso behind The Social Network (2010), Aaron Sorkin. This moving account of the evolution of an icon takes us quite literally behind the scenes of what the rest of the world saw. The opening credits of a prophetic black-and-white clip showcasing a salesman predicting the future of technology brings a sense of nostalgia and pride, and provides a glimpse of the excitement that it to come.

The strength of Steve Jobs is its brutally honesty. The former Apple CEO is not portrayed as an angelic mastermind, bereft of flaws and a great leader. Rather, he is shown to be arrogant, steadfast, stubborn—yet a visionary who foresaw a world changed by personal computing. His own sense of infallibility in describing himself as a Julius Caesar surrounded by enemies is juxtaposed with his own “reality distortion field” as Joanna Hoffman (played by Kate Winslet) remarks, as he gradually realizes the mistakes he has made. This film is about Steve Jobs the man, and not just what he created.

Michael Fassbender succeeds in delivering an incredible performance, with enough conviction to more than make up for the facial dissimilarities between Steve Jobs and himself (hintAshton Kutcherhint). I could not help but despise Steve Jobs as a character in the beginning and slowly grow to love him. I could not help but agree with him when he said that technology is art and can change the world. I had to rejoice when he emerges victorious in fulfilling his dream. I had to accept him as human, uncompromising in his beliefs and imperfect as a person.

The film would be incomplete without the great performance of Kate Winslet, who, as the strong female lead, is the only person who stays loyal and confident in Jobs’s capabilities and unafraid to contradict and question him. It seems strange that Jobs (2013) failed to credit her at all. Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels and Michael Stuhlberg are all instrumental in revealing the different facets of Jobs’s personality and his different roles as a son, father, CEO and designer. This film also achieved a feat that few others can claim similar success in—it managed to maintain its intensity throughout whilst cleverly intertwining witty one-liners and genuine laughs. Credit for this goes to the well-thought-out dialogue and director Danny Boyle, who recreated the intensity of previous works 127 Hours (2010) and Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

It is hard to pick faults in this movie, but it is worth considering the entirely below-average performance of the 19-year-old Lisa, Steve Jobs’s daughter. The film also seems to skip major milestones for which elaboration would have been helpful. This is largely caused by the format of the movie itself, which takes some time getting used to. Apart from that, Steve Jobs is a must-watch and the best film of the season. While Jobs was annoyingly chronological, factual and lacked depth, Steve Jobs digs deep into the late Apple founder’s personal life, insecurities, anger and general evolution as a character, and the essence of an icon who remains worshipped by many even today. There are virtually no overlaps between these two biopics, so watch it despite whatever you know about Steve Jobs’s life.