October 30, 2015

Steve Jobs

Danny Boyle, 2015
Not many people in our modern age will likely see such legendary status so shortly after their death as Steve Jobs, who passed away in 2011 after a battle with cancer. After his passing we were treated to stories of what kind of person he was, good and bad. Walter Isaacson’s bestselling biography of Jobs was a warts and all guide to the complicated person.

Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay is built upon the material contained in Isaacson’s book. It’s really a bold approach in terms of it’s cinematic treatment, because it doesn’t pull a lot of punches in showcasing some of Job’s faults. It largely focuses on Jobs negative traits. His obsession with control. His bitterness towards those who wronged him. And quite possibly his biggest flaw as a person, his denial of his biological daughter Lisa. The biopic itself was involved in a long game of hot potato in Hollywood. A lot of names were thrown around to play Steve: George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Dicaprio, Christian Bale. All of the big names that seem to come up with any high profile film these days. The choice of Michael Fassbender was an intriguing one. How could a German-Irish who doesn’t possess any of the physical qualities of Steve Jobs actually play him on screen?

Fassbender handles the role quite well. He seemed to have studied Jobs mannerisms through the seemingly endless sources of media available. There are moments where he was able to capture a few sentences where he sounded almost exactly like the real Steve. But Fassbender isn’t really doing a dead-on impersonation of Jobs, it is more of a reinterpretation or a channeling of a person through a series of fictional scenes based on accounts of others.

There is certainly a lack of Danny Boyle’s stylistic personality to the film. The superimposition of the rocket take off on the hallway wall may be one of the only visual elements that feels like Boyle. Because of this, it feels like a film belonging more to Sorkin. Especially with it being so dialogue heavy. Almost as if the script itself was blowing through the alleyways in Hollywood and finally Boyle stepped on it with one foot and decided to pick it up. Sorkin’s script isn’t just normal people talking. It’s people talking to each other in that very intense, very important manner. Everything that comes out of everyone’s mouth is quotable. But with all of that dialogue comes fatigue. By the third Apple event depicted, you are bound to feel winded.

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