Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of Apple before three important product launches; The Macintosh in '84, the NeXT in '88 and the iMac in '98.
Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and Academy Award winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) have not created a biopic of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, but a dramatization of three important product launches.
What's so unique and impressive about Steve Jobs is the structure. It's split up into three separate 40 minute scenes before product launches and each scene builds and builds to a nail biting crescendo. This is what separates Steve Jobs from other biopics; we're not seeing Jobs' life but instead three important time frames from his illustrious career. In these scenes backstage, Jobs tackles issues within his professional life such as trying to get the Macintosh to "say Hello" or more personal affairs such as the daughter he denied paternity of for many years.
Michael Fassbender (Macbeth) stars at the title character and is most definitely the front runner for the Best Actor Oscar next year as this is the most impressive performance of his career and is more than worthy of an award. There is little screen time where Fassbender isn't present; he's almost in every single second of the film which makes the performance all the more impressive. Obviously Fassbender bears little resemblance to the real Steve Jobs but that isn't an issue at all, he fully embodies the character and within the first few minutes that stigma will be gone. Fassbender isn't doing an impression here, even when sporting the iconic turtle neck and blue jeans in the final act.
Steve Jobs was infamously not an easy man to work with and not everyone was a fan of him and the movie does an excellent job of never casting judgement upon Jobs. Boyle and Sorkin let us decide if we like this character and never pussyfoot around the fact that he wasn't a great man, father or work colleague but a man focused almost entirely on his career and the future of the company he started. Whereas the 2013 Jobs showed us the progression of the character from beginning to end, Boyle's picture lets us learn about the characters in three different time frames set years apart all set in real time.
Surrounding Fassbender is a wonderfully talented cast, Kate Winslet (Titanic) and Jeff Daniels (The Martian) should be considered for supporting role Oscars as Jobs' assistant and CEO of Apple respectively. One of the most surprising performances comes from comedy actor Seth Rogen (Neighbors) playing Jobs' close friend/colleague Steve Wozniak, and whilst this isn't an awards level performance, it's the best Rogen has ever been. Before each product launch, the action comes from Jobs' butting heads with his staff, his superiors or his high school sweetheart and her daughter. That's perhaps the only unrealistic thing about Steve Jobs, everything seems to come afoot within the 40 minutes before a product launch and characters have conversations that they necessarily wouldn't have had in that time but instead at somewhere entirely different, but because of how experimental the films structure is I'm more than willing to forgive that because it works so well. Of course the film isn't presented as a biopic, but a dramatization of Jobs' career which means not everything is entirely accurate, but because the filmmakers didn't intend to create a documentary or biopic, it's not really a complaint.
Because of the unique three scene structure, there isn't a whole lot of story stringing Steve Jobs together but it's the relationships between the characters which hold all the scenes together, most importantly the blossoming relationship between Steve and the daughter he denied paternity of; Lisa. Lisa is played by three different actresses in the three different time frames, from 5 years old to 19 years old, we see Lisa grow up and see how Jobs finally begins to accept her as his own, the relationship was rather heart breaking as we see Jobs progress from almost entirely dismissing Lisa at a young age to accepting her and even caring for her.
In a way, Steve Jobs is almost a spiritual successor to The Social Network, a very similar type of film also written by Sorkin based on two of the most popular tech moguls of our time. The writing in Steve Jobs is astoundingly impressive. Sorkin writes dialogue how we wish we could talk, everyone is so perfectly articulate and fast and it makes simple dialogue scenes incredibly exciting. Of course the script is only made better with Danny Boyle's unique and brilliant direction which should at least earn him a nomination if not a win at 2016's Oscars. Steve Jobs has an inspiring amount of energy to it, there's little down time which seems odd for a drama mainly comprised of hallway dialogue scenes but it's true, the tension is constantly building within the three scenes which all lead up to a wonderful payoff in each scene.
Steve Jobs is a wonderfully unique film filled with marvelous performances, excellent dialogue and an insane amount of energy which never lets up, this is a straight up masterpiece which needs to be seen.
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