With its hot cast, clever shooting, and a multi-million dollar budget, ‘Steve Jobs’ has all the elegance of an iPhone 6, but as much personality as Siri, says Niamh Griffin.
Steve Jobs is a biopic of the late co-founder of Apple Inc. It is a slick, clever homage to the computer he envisioned and an account of Jobs’ journey from cold-hearted perfectionist to doting daddy. It’s the second Hollywood movie to be made about Jobs. The first one was released in 2013 and starred Ashton Kutcher.
This time, Michael Fassbender takes on the title role, and does so with a subtlety and power that was lacking from the first film. Kate Winslet, Seth Rogan and Jeff Daniels all deliver strong performances as his colleagues.
The direction has its moments of genius. Academy Award winner, Danny Boyle splits the film into three distinct acts, each one showing the build up to the launch of a new product. Cleverly, as the film passes through the three eras, the film quality increases in sophistication, with the final act being shot with pin-sharp, high-definition focus. The soundtrack develops in a similar way, shifting from a series of beeps to orchestral grandeur to electronic tunes.
It’s a nice progression, and there’s a lot to be impressed by in this film, but ultimately the computer business is hardly dramatic. You can only be impressed by slick camera shots and split screens for so long.
Watching the film, I tried to be excited by the launch of the Macintosh, and I was a little. Then I tried to get excited about the launch on NeXT, a computer I’d never heard of, and I couldn’t. By the time Jobs announced the launch of the Apple Mac, I was checking the time on my iPhone.
Though the dialogue is sharp, and Fassbender comes out with several quotable one-liners, most of the conversations sound like business meetings, and are probably interesting only to those employed by Apple, and maybe some Microsoft workers.
Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay tries to take us out of the boring business-speak mire by featuring sentimental scene’s involving Jobs and his daughter, and though it’s difficult to fault Fassbender’s emotive performance, these scenes get dramatically cheesier as the film progresses. Jobs’ development from a resistant father, to a reluctant one, to a loving dad ends up jarring in a film that is otherwise clinical. And at one unintentionally hilarious point, the film tries to tug on heart strings by revealing Jobs’ little girl almost missed her first term at Harvard.
I wanted an intimate portrayal of a tortured genius, crippled by the very perfectionism that made him brilliant. Sadly, despite his genius, Jobs just isn’t that interesting a guy. By the time the cringe-making climax arrived, I was tired of the gimicks and sick of the sentimentality.
Mac and cheese doesn’t work.
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