Danny Boyle’s shrewd and witty biopic may play fast and loose with the facts and characters but what results is a thoroughly entertaining film featuring some stellar performances.
The Aaron Sorkin penned feature boils down the arrogant and troubled life of Steve Jobs into three distinct acts. Each act deals with the unveiling of an iconic product by Jobs and ends with the iMac being showcased in 1998.
Steve Jobs is a tour de force of a movie. Everyone is fantastic in the film. Michael Fassbender is Oscar-worthy. Kate Winslet is quietly great. Jeff Daniels continues to be a chameleon. Seth Rogen is surprisingly dramatic yet fittingly charming. Michael Stuhlbarg is a scene-stealer. Katherine Waterston continues her rise. And Danny Boyle and his team of editors tie the performances together with strength and jolly into one outstanding film.
Do not be mistaken – this is not a puff-piece biopic. Indeed, Steve Jobs peels back the public exterior of the late Apple CEO and showcases his seedy and delusional underbelly. There are moments where you doubt Fassbender is playing an actual human being with Jobs verging on the binary emotions of one of his computers. He’s crazy, paranoid and vengeful and the film showcases Jobs with all his rough edges.
A single star cannot be singled out for this film. Forget that Fassbender looks nothing like Steve Jobs and on occasion doesn’t even sound like Steve Jobs, he is Steve Jobs. Fassbender is the loud centrepiece of the movie and without him it may not have been great. Forget that Christian Bale was first cast as Steve Jobs. Fassbender takes the role and elevates it into something utterly engrossing.
Regardless. Winslet and Daniels are just as good as Fassbender. Winslet outshines Fassbender in most scenes and holds a gracefulness that embodies just how good the stunning English actress can be. Daniels, continuing his relationship with Sorkin from The Newsroom, melts into the role. He’s raging and confident yet timid and vulnerable. He, along with every other performer, rolls through Sorkin’s dialogue with ease, almost rapping the storyline to an attractive beat.
Many reviewers and commentators have called Sorkin’s script self-indulgent and unrealistic but I adore the fast-paced, rollicking, almost action-centric punch of every line and word. The characters may not talk like people but the message and performances are so inviting the dialogue feels like a puffy pillow.
The only negative feeling I had leaving the film was feeling short-changed, just a little. The film has three acts but I wanted four and five. I wanted Steve Jobs to unveil the iPod and iPhone. It’s a backhanded compliment; I was invested in these characters and their stories so much that I wanted to see more. The fact that I didn’t, left me yearning rather than content.
However, the job Danny Boyle has done, bringing everything together, cannot be underestimated. Boyle, who replaced David Fincher as the director, created a free-flowing, ballsy and sentient film that beeps, boops and features some of the best performances of the year.
Score – B+