Our reviewers Maysa Moncao and Claire Durrant both downloaded themselves into their local cinemas to see Steve Jobs, the biography of the late Apple CEO starring Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet. Their views are below.
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Steve Jobs. Biopic, Universal Pictures
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast & credits
Producers: Mark Gordon, Guymon Casady, Scott Rudin, Danny Boyle, Christian Colson.
Writer: Aaron Sorkin.
Camera: Alwin H. Kuchler.
Music: Daniel Pemberton.
Sets: Guy Hendrix-Dyas.
Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Perla Haney-Jardine, Katherine Waterston.
Steve Jobs takes us behind the scene of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at his epicentre. The story unfolds backstage of three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac.
Review, by Maysa Moncao
I think that what went wrong with the “Apple drama” is that both director Boyle and writer Sorkin had taken for granted the moto “Think Different”. All one should expect from a biopic of the last icon of digital revolution is Creativity, and that is not in the movie. In fact, Kate Winslet, during the press conference in London, reveals that there is too much talking in the film and not enough action.
Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, 2010) is responsible for adapting Walter Isaacson’s book into a screenplay and apparently he’s forgotten that nerds like action, not words. He chose just three events of the protagonist’s life, magnificently performed by Michael Fassbender, to summarize such a complex character: the launch of the Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT Cube in 1988 and the iMac in 1998.
Boyle tries hard to recreate the cult of personality, composing for the actors a megalomaniacal symphony. The truth is that he stages Jobs as a great conductor. Truly, though, there were some not-in-tune instrumentists in his life. His behaviour and interactions with his team and family, such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (Rogen), Apple CEO John Sculley (Daniels), his PA Joanna Hoffman (Winslet) and daughter Lisa Brannen (Haney-Jardine) magnifies the eccentricities of a brilliant mind within an untamed body.
Nevertheless, the film deals very briefly and supercially with such complexes. It is always go, go, go, but the audience is not left with a breathtaking sensation. It is what on his mind that can get our attention. How does a mind invent the future?
Review, by Claire Durrant
Typing up my review on my iPad after watching this film feels right. Watching Steve Jobs (Fassbender) on the screen endeavour to release his genius to the world, and knowing that probably everyone in that cinema had one of his products, just demonstrates the power and success that man achieved.
Jobs is a fascinating person, and Fassbender portrays him beautifully. His icy demeanour, ferocious arrogance and drive for perfection, illustrates him to be, well not the nicest man to work with. The irony is that in 1984 he is demanding that people fix the Mackintosh so that the computer will say “hello”. He invests so much time in to making his computer appear friendly, that he himself becomes more distant. And yet, Jobs still comes across as brilliant, energetic and charming.
It’s this juxtaposition of personalities that make for great chemistry between himself and the other characters. He is mean spirited to his coworkers and friends. He threatens his computer engineer Hertzfeld (Stuhlbarg,) belittles his long time friend and co-founder Wozniak (Rogen), is in constant competition with the Apple CEO (Daniels), and refuses to acknowledge his fatherhood. However, these people still admire and love Jobs, as they remind us throughout this film. This balance of loving someone and yet still finding them to be relentless and frustrating has been written eloquently.
Best performances are definitely in the scenes between Jobs and his P.A Joanna (Winslet). Joanna acts as the calming Jiminy Cricket to Jobs’ Pinocchio. She is his voice of reason, his confidante, and the one person who can force him to do something. It’s the battle between her rationality, and his ‘insanity’ that are the most enjoyable moments in this film.
The dialogue heavy script with repetitive narration is something I know people struggled with in the cinema. There is no action, no explosions, no car chases. It’s watching Jobs’ relations with the same few people unfold and develop in the three periods of time. For me it was a interesting choice of narrative structure, and I didn’t tire of it. It was very theatrical in the way the film was portrayed like a classic play.
Another problem I know the film faced was its choice of ending. Throughout the film we see Jobs’ rocky relationship with his daughter Lisa. And in a manner similar to The Grinch (2000), the ending shows Jobs suddenly getting a heart as he reconciles with her. People appeared to be upset at the film’s ‘soft’ ending, in contrast to Jobs’ previous behaviour. I for one don’t see the ending as disappointing. For me, the film ends not as Jobs redeeming himself to his daughter, but simply acknowledging and accepting his role as a father.
In conclusion, whether you enjoy the film or not, let us just be thankful that we no longer have to acknowledge the 2013 biopic.
View the official trailer on Youtube.