Cinematic Releases: Steve Jobs

The second film about Steve Jobs is finally in a wider release this weekend.

"Oh! You Movie Sleuth bastards are
really starting to piss me off now!"
Genius. Manipulative sociopath. Technological mastermind. Artistic elitist. These are all terms that come to mind when seeing Steve Jobs, the latest picture to capture the life of the now deceased Apple co-founder. 

Where the Ashton Kutcher vehicle was a straight biopic, Danny Boyle's feature is a dialogue driven drama centered on three of Jobs' techie unveilings, each with their own bit of fictionalized Sorkin heavy scripting. To be totally honest, the 2013 Jobs felt more like an honest portrayal of the man's life whereas this Birdman-esque backstage mega-drama is pure unadulterated Aaron Sorkin on a steady dose of uppers mixed with a six pack of 16 ounce cans of Red Bull . Never winding down and never taking one single second to breathe, the dialogue is well written, but ultimately paints Steve Jobs into a corner, making him seem like a menace to everyone around him and a terrible person in general. 

Stemming from the directorial merits of Danny Boyle, Steve Jobs looks gorgeous, has gritty film grain touches, and features excellent performances all around. Yet, the always daring Kate Winslet stumbles throughout, losing her American accent every time her Joanna character gets anywhere near emotional. It's distracting and symptomatic of the little details that weren't given enough attention with this production. Of course Michael Fassbender creates a haunting portrayal as Steve Jobs, never losing sight of his character, vocal inflections, or his physical mannerisms. However, Fassbender outperforms the script that is so heavy-handedly crafted by Sorkin that it becomes distracting and incoherent at times. Seth Rogen does a brilliant job as Steve Wozniak, becoming more unwound and disheveled as the film plays out its three main junctions in time. With a supporting cast featuring the always on point Jeff Daniels, Sorkin's Newsroom feel definitely crosses paths into the world of Apple and its ups and downs. 

"I'm so sad. I got out-Woz'ed
by Josh Gad in that other movie.
My life is meaningless."
Steve Jobs (for me) is a mostly disappointing venture. Coming from the minds of two great creative workhorses like Boyle and Sorkin backed by the talents of Fassbender and Winslet, one would think this would be an Oscar caliber slam dunk. It really isn't. Yes, the acting is phenomenal. The score is tension inducing. And the cinematography is beautiful to look at. But, the ultimate unraveling of this Steve Jobs is that it feels like a fantasy land slam piece aimed at discrediting Steve Jobs and his moral dilemmas. Often times, the most intelligent among us aren't the most emotionally responsive or vested in personal relationships. Their creations, their artistic expressions, and their offerings to the world serve a greater purpose despite their shortcomings as emotive beings.  Steve Jobs takes far too many jabs at a man that dedicated his life to giving us technologies that continue to bloom. 

Thinking I was going into a better, more fluid biography film that turned out to be an overtly fictionalized Sorkin screenplay was a major disappointment. Of Danny Boyle's career, this is most likely his poorest entry. There are some beautiful cinematic moments throughout that show us Fassbender's consistently growing charms as a leading man. Steve Jobs is Sorkin doing Sorkin while Danny Boyle loses touch with himself despite some elegant looking set pieces and crafty camera work. Steve Jobs is a claustrophobic melodrama that belongs in the dregs of the October theatrical season. Nothing to see here. Move along.



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