STEVE JOBS marks the third biopic of the Apple cofounder, and the second within the past two years. It also just happens to be this reviewer’s honest opinion that it is easily the best of the three. Sorry Ashton Kutcher. Let me start by saying that by the end of the first half hour of the movie, I was convinced I was watching Steve Jobs himself on the screen. That’s how amazing Michael Fassbender portrayed the man. He’s already in talks to be nominated for an Oscar for this performance and I could quickly understand why that might be the case. Kate Winslet and Seth Rogan also play their parts impeccably as Joanna Hoffman and Steve Wozniak, respectfully. Then we have the always incredible, Jeff Daniels, rounding out the cast with another great performance (we’ll just forget about Dumb and Dumber To).
Now, I don’t want to talk much about the technical aspects of this film, but this was a really interesting film in that it was shot three different ways. The narrative is laid out in a three-act structure. However, unlike an ordinary three-act structure, Sorkin presented each act before a crucial product launch in three different years; the Mac in 1984, the NeXT computer in 1988, and the iMac in 1998. In the 1984 sequence, Danny Boyle chose to shoot on 16mm film. Naturally, this gives the impression that we are watching something dated. In 1988, he shot on 35mm film. This is a more common type of film for moviegoers to experience, but it’s still strange to see since we are so adjusted to digital. And, as you can expect, the sequence set in 1998 was shot on digital. This decision really gives each act a unique feel and helps the audience understand the gaps in time along with the advancement of technology that we missed between acts.
It should be noted that this is a dialogue heavy film. That’s actually an understatement. This movie is completely dialogue driven. Writer, Aaron Sorkin is famous for his witty and fast paced dialogue, which you can also see in other films and TV shows such as THE SOCIAL NETWORK and THE NEWSROOM. Due to his talent in crafting genuine and sometimes hilarious dialogue, the two hour conversation never seems to grow old. I was surprised by the pacing of the film and was kind of upset when I realized that it was actually over. A movie is really special, in my opinion, when it can cause the viewer to invest so heavily in the characters without the use of unneeded special effects or action scenes. Having read Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, I knew everything there was to know about the man, but I still wanted him to succeed in every way possible. I wanted him to connect with his daughter. I wanted him to stop being such a jerk to the people who helped him become the success that he was. I wanted him to overcome the odds. Why? Because the characters and what they had to say were the only important aspects of this film. And they were both executed expertly.
If you enjoy a good and unique story, albeit one that does not rely on action or explosions, you will enjoy this movie. It’s very likely that you’ll enjoy this movie regardless of your taste in cinema. Steve Jobs was a jerk, sure, but an interesting jerk nonetheless. The performances were all top notch, the writing was crisp and fluid, and it was beautifully shot and directed. Well worth the price of admission.
STEVE JOBS (R) – Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogan, Jeff Daniels
Run time: 122 minutes