Steve Jobs is directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network). It follows three significant presentations during Jobs’ (Michael Fassbender) career that have been very loosely adapted from real life. A few years back, we got a Steve Jobs biopic starring Ashton Kutcher but to compare the two is like comparing a “frozen dessert” that passes itself as ice cream to real ice cream. That being said, Steve Jobs is not a biopic in traditional sense of the word. It’s a really cool experiment with some badass results.
Boyle is one of the most innovative director working today from the dirty camcorder visuals of 28 Days Later to the running cam of Slumdog Millionaire, this guy wants to do something new with every one of his movies. In Steve Jobs, he shoots with 16mm, 35mm film, and digital to chronologically represent each era of Job’s life. Sorkin’s screenplay is done in real time in the most literal meaning of a “three-act structure” that I’ve ever witnessed. Both of these guys are masters at what they do and they’re able to work together to bring you a movie that feels intense and way shorter than its two-hour runtime.
Fassbender is cast perfectly as Steve Jobs even though he looks nothing like the man himself. He’s confident and gives one of the most virtuosic performances of the year bouncing off of a very impressive and just as virtuosic Kate Winslet and a very Shakespearean performance from Jeff Daniels (who can clearly take anything Sorkin will ever throw from him). The movie is anchored by Jobs’ relationship with his daughter Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, and Makenzie Moss) and for the most part, you buy it and there are some heavy stuff here that we don’t really see but we’re able to feel the wall between these them.
Although Sorkin is an excellent writer, every character is somehow as hyper-intelligent as Jobs. Ironically the quality of the script works against the movie in this way. We get it, you can write and the script constantly bombards you with one-liners that go faster than someone like me can react to. It goes at an alarming pace and leaves no room for anyone to catch their breath. Think of it as an intense workout.
The world has finally gotten the Steve Jobs movie it deserves and it’s handled beautifully. The directing-writing dynamic works harmoniously and is able to bring a level of intensity that feels exhausting to watch. Watching Steve Job is like watching someone play a crazy drum solo for the entire concert. It’s awesome, yes, but a normal viewer needs time to breathe. Unlike a typical “biopic”. this one does something different. There are some highly stylized performances from the film’s leads and it looks as stylish as it feels. If you’re not a fan of Sorkin’s hyper-pretentious dialogue, you’re gonna find this to be just as annoying as the rest of his filmography. If you’re looking for something that feels like an action movie but with words, this is totally where you want to be even if you don’t care about Apple or Steve Jobs.