Dan's Review: "Steve Jobs" takes a bite out of a genius
Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs - © 2015 - Universal Pictures
Steve Jobs (Universal)
Rated R for language.
Starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Katherine Waterston, Michael Stuhlbarg, Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, Makenzie Moss, Sarah Snook, Adam Shapiro, John Ortiz.
Written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book by Walter Isaacson.
Directed by Danny Boyle.
Geniuses can be evil, but can they also be nice people? Steve Jobs, the most recent film based on the late Apple founder tries to answer this question in a unique and entertaining way.
Michael Fassbender stars as Jobs, in a story that spans three important days in the life of the computer genius. Those days represent the launch of Apple Macintosh in 1984, the launch of the NeXT educational computer system in 1988 and the launch of the iMac in 1998. In the lead-up to the 1984 launch, Jobs is confronted by his ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterson), who brings the young Lisa (Makenzie Moss) along. Lisa is Steve and Chrisann’s daughter, although Jobs refuses to acknowledge her. After a heated argument and brief bonding moment with Lisa, Jobs agrees to but the mother and daughter a house, along with increased financial support. Jobs is also upset over a Time Magazine article naming “The Computer” and not himself as Man of the Year, and expresses his frustrations with his trusted confidant and assistant Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet). There are also technical glitches that threaten the launch, as Steve is also confronted by Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak (Seth Rogen), who wants him to recognize the Apple II team. Jobs also has a nice pep talk from Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels).
Flashing forward 4 years, we pick up with Jobs on the launch day for the NeXT computer. He is confronted with the same group, including Brennan, Wozniak, Sculley and 9-year-old Lisa (now played by Ripley Sobo). Jobs bonds with Lisa again, has an antagonistic encounter with Sculley (who he blames for his ouster from Apple after the Macintosh failure), and again refuses to acknowledge Woz and the Apple II team. We also learn that Jobs really intended to use NeXT as a vehicle to get back into the Apple team.
Nine years later, Jobs is back in charge of Apple, and about to launch the iMac. He again meets with the same people, including Sculley (having lost his job after Apple’s near demise) Woz, and 19-year-old Lisa (now played by Perla Haney-Jardine). As the pressure mounts prior to the launch, Jobs must overcome his demand for control to save his relationship with Lisa.
Steve Jobs is another excellent film that benefits from the talents of Danny Boyle, the acclaimed director who utilizes a unique method for telling the story of a complicated, but incredible man. Boyle’s use of flashbacks, news clips and graphics weaves a story that provides an intricate examination of a complicated man – with setting involving only three days of his life. Boyle’s film is bolstered by another incredible script from Aaron Sorkin, who is able to punch hard at the computer mogul, while allowing his humanity to shine through.
Fassbender’s performance is equally incredible, and an outstanding cast supports him, including Seth Rogen, Kate Winslet and Jeff Daniels.
If there is a flaw in Steve Jobs (the movie), it’s the film’s tendency to make the audience feel inferior to the vision of the genius who took no prisoners as he rose to the top. Perhaps it’s a little too much to fathom or appreciate, and I’m not sure we’re any closer to understanding a complicated man like Steve Jobs, whose insistence of control is a trait exploited effectively in the film. I suppose that “Mac” fans can take comfort that even though Jobs’ pursuit of control ended when cancer took his life in 2011, his legacy continues with the technology he left behind.
Steve Jobs Trailer