Awards season has begun and that means that the focus of every director, producer, writer and actor turns towards the Oscars and Golden Globes. Aiming to recreate his 2009 success with Slumdog Millionaire is director Danny Boyle and his latest movie, a biopic about Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs.
Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels
Run Time: 122 Minutes
Release Date: Out Now
Written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network and The West Wing) and led by Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class and Prometheus), this isn’t your traditional biopic, it doesn’t follow Jobs from birth to death. The movie instead covers just three major events in his life, split perfectly into three separate acts moments before Job unveiled iconic products during his illustrious career.
The movie begins with the launch of the Apple Macintosh in 1984 as Jobs readies himself for his first major reveal presentation and deal with several issues going on backstage. His assistant, Joanne Hoffman played by Kate Winslet (Titanic), is his right-hand woman throughout the movie, organising everything that is needed.
Each issue they are confronted with shows us that Jobs is focused on one thing, himself. He doesn’t care about the other technicians and he is cold hearted when it comes to his former lover and his daughter. Nothing will stop Jobs getting the presentation started on time and for everything to be working how he wants it, he is the ultimate perfectionist.
Act two shows us the lowest point in Steve Jobs’ career, with news reports on how poorly the Macintosh had sold, leading to Apple’s board of directors firing the visionary. Not a man to suffer from self-pity, Jobs comes back in 1988 with his own product, NeXT, to compete again Apple. The main goal? To get Apple’s attention, with the hopes of returning to the company his helped create and ultimately take control once more. Where act one taught us how obnoxious the main could be, act two shows us how much of an astute businessman is was and how this trait helped him reach the peaks he did in his life.
Once again, the moments before the presentation are played out, with Hoffman dealing with issues backstage for Jobs. The best scene in the movie, in my opinion, comes from an argument between Jobs and John Sculley, the CEO of Apple, played by Jeff Daniels (Dumb and Dumber). The argument takes us through the reasons of how and why Jobs was fired from Apple, using flashbacks of the events.
This second act also continues to develop the relationship Jobs had with his former lover and his daughter. At times, he shows some form of humanity and compassion for his daughter but then his selfish side comes out again, where he’s more focused on himself and his presentation than on what is really important in life, family and friends.
The third time frame the movie visits is1998, with the unveiling of the iMac. Jobs is now back in control of Apple and has a clear vision of where he sees his company in the 21st century. Hoffman is still his right hand woman pulling the strings backstage, dealing with more issues created by Jobs. Again, we see some humanity from Jobs, he seems to have more of a sense of humour by this point in his life, even if it is a bit sarcastic.
This act offers us another great scene, unsurprisingly it’s another argument, this time between Jobs and Steve Wozniak, played by Seth Rogen (The Interview). Wozniak wants recognition for the work he and his team did starting Apple as a company and for building the Apple 2 but Jobs is unwilling to give him that recognition. Jobs thinks this is what is best for business but yet again he shows how selfish he was to the people in his life.
The final, fourth act wraps up all its plots spread throughout the movie. Lifelong friend and colleague, Andy Hertzfeld, played by Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire) has had a love-hate relationship with Jobs but when Hertzfeld goes behind his back to pay for his daughter’s tuition fees, Jobs is really annoyed. Hertzfeld tries to make Jobs realise he should be paying more attention to his daughter rather than just focusing on his career.
Minutes before another big presentation, Jobs goes to find his daughter to try and reconcile what he has done wrong. He finally begins to listen to what his daughter has to say and shows he does have a caring side. This leads to a complete contrast of the previous events as Jobs finally puts his family first, leading to a late presentation and a very emotional scene in the car park of the conference hall.
Is this movie a contender for awards this coming year? We will just have to wait and see but it does have a lot of competition from this past year. Fassbender is fantastic as the man himself and his definitely deserves some recognition in the form of a nomination, if not a win. Winslet is another highlight in a very strong supporting role, she plays the part of Hoffman superbly and creates a character to actually care about when Jobs is at his least likeable.
Danny Boyle shot the movie using three different types of film (16mm, 35mm and digital) for each act, set to illustrate the advancement in technology over the period of the film. As each act is almost in real time, there are long continuous shots taking us through what is going on backstage. Boyle makes us feel like we are in the room with the characters and when he does cut to a different camera it is seamless.
As you would expect, the script, by Aaron Sorkin, is spot on. The back and forth between the characters is similar to what Sorkin achieved with The West Wing. It’s non-stop, much like a stage performance and never gives you the chance to be bored.
Steve Jobs is a good biopic about a man that very few saw behind the mask he wore on stage, it may not be the most historically accurate story, but it is entertaining nonetheless. The star-studded cast are directed well by Boyle and excellently perform Sorkin’s script, which creates an interesting and informative movie.