It's not binary. You can be decent and gifted at the same time. -Steve Wozniak
Walking into the cinema...
Steve Jobs, take two. It looks to be a better production than Jobs, but do we need another biopic of the Apple founder?
Overall Rating: 4.25 stars
Cinematic rating: 4.25 stars
Bigger questions rating: 4 stars
How do you separate the man from the company that he represents? Steve Jobs has become synonymous with the Apple brand. He has been the subject of documentaries, biographies and a previous feature film. His reputation is as legendary as his impact on the computer industry. Regardless of your opinion of the man, it is hard to not miss the impact that he has had on world events in the past few decades.
The challenge for director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and writer Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) is to make Jobs’ story appealing and palatable. Reading the biography written by Walter Isaacson would show that the Apple founder was not the most endearing of individuals. Instead of focusing on all of the aspects of his life, the production team chose to overlay the establishment of one of the world’s most recognised brands during three key product launches in the life of Steve Jobs. Through the launches of the Macintosh, NEXT computers and the iMac, they were able to communicate the development of the company, the key working relationships in Jobs’ life and the development of his role as a father to his estranged daughter, Lisa. Steve Jobs conveys the development of the former Apple CEO and how his passion and drive affected his life and the world.
The combination of Boyle and Sorkin is unsettling at first, both have a unique manner of story telling that may not seem to complement one another, but in the end it comes together effectively. The successful lynch pin in this coupling of these two styles is the casting of Michael Fassbender (Slow West) as Jobs. His presence and intensity embodies the mythical Apple figure and provides the human frailty that is less known about his life. He is also one of the rare actors who can carry the weight of a Sorkin’s monologuing scripts. Fassbender continues to prove that he is a force in Hollywood and he proves to be the right man for this role. Boyle manages to surround his lead character with a stellar cast that carry the story that orbits around Jobs. Kate Winslet (The Dressmaker) shows her uncanny ability to make a supporting character into a lead role. It would be worth analysing each character, but for the sake of the review it must be said that Jeff Daniels, Seth Rogen, and Michael Sahlberg are perfectly suited for their place in this computer journey.
The cinematic stylings of Boyle, stellar performance of Fassbender and the superlative writing of Sorkin make this film a gem, but the challenge is celebrating the man at the centre of the story. Steve Jobs may have been a genius in promotion and seeing business trends, but it is his persona that is on display in this character play. Even for the most loyal Apple fans, Jobs’ charisma is unquestionable, but his temperament is hard to stomach. To bring a dose of reality in biopics makes for good cinema and the director should never shy away from full disclosure, but the Achilles heel of this whole cinematic experience is the detestable nature of Jobs himself. Unlike Sorkin's management of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, who comes off as pitiable in the end, Steve Jobs remains the same person throughout his life and everyone else must bend to his will in the end. The inclusion of his daughter in the storyline does soften the message, but ultimately there is not much to celebrate in the personal life of Steve Jobs.
Danny Boyle has delivered an excellent excursion through the life of the computer visionary, Fassbender delivers a performance of a lifetime, Sorkin continues to effectively write great scripts, but the film suffers from the subject matter. It might be worth allowing Jobs to move into the realm of mythology and forget to analyse the realities of the man behind the machine.
REEL DIALOGUE: What are some of the bigger questions to consider from this film?
How much are we to sacrifice in light of achieving life’s goals? In the life of men and women throughout history, there is much to celebrate in their achievements, but who and what gets left in the aftermath? Missionaries, pastors, business leaders and politicians all have to consider these questions. Steve Jobs begs the question, what would you be willing to sacrifice to reach the goals of your life? Regardless of how admirable they may be.
1. What does the Bible say about business practices? (Leviticus 25:14, 1 Timothy 6:10)
2. What is our responsibility to our family? (2 Corinthians 12:14, 1 Timothy 5:8)
Leaving the cinema...
Brilliant film. Great direction. Fantastic performances. Excellent writing. Yet, it suffers because of the subject matter.
Trailer for the film
Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews #stevejobs