Thank you Danny Boyle, thank you Aaron Sorkin, thank you linesmen and ball boys; the Ashton Kutcher certified piece of excrement Jobs has been successfully eclipsed by this inventive and kinetic glimpse into the life of tech icon Steve Jobs.
Following the behind the scenes chaos at three product launches (Apple Macintosh, the NeXT computer and the iMac) Boyle and Sorkin take us literally and figuratively behind the scenes in the life of Steve Jobs.
Aaron Sorkin has orchestrated another sensation. The script is both a feat of economy and precision, dialling into the time immediately preceding three of Jobs’ key note speeches and formulating exchanges between the people pivotal to his company and life. The dialogue is as blisteringly fast as you’d expect from Sorkin’s work, but it’s crafted to serve multiple purposes. Every conversation has to serve the function of that moment, but simultaneously they’re able to refract and illuminate more of who the man was in the times that we don’t see.
Boyle’s style truly shines in the passages in time and in flash backs that echo into the present day. The transitions bombard you with graphics and news media coverage, news sound bites and clips form perfect little artistic asides that just barely pause between the frenzy of activity and emotion. Boyle brings the spaces to life, giving them vibrance and flashes of colour, when the stage is ultimately the drab bowels of these arenas. The past feels ghostly, like a faded memory coming to life.
The casting of Fassbender as Jobs is inspired. Going for look-a-like stunt casting is O.K. when you’re passing the camera over a talking extra; not when you’re trying to do justice to one of our time’s most influential tech geniuses. Instead of being hung up on precision of aesthetic for the character, Fassbender is tasked to embody his stature, confidence and abrasive approach. It’s that presence that resonates with the people around him; there’s admiration and inspiration but there’s also a fear that comes with someone with such an uncompromising and clear vision. Fassbender is just firing on all cylinders here.
Kate Winslet’s Joanna Hoffman is magical. She’s got an awareness, an enveloping compassion that just absorbs the blows of Steve’s tactless approach. Winslet is a resting powerhouse at this point in her career and she is more than capable of standing toe to toe with Fassbender’s dick. SORRY. Fassbender being a dick as Steve Jobs. Jeff Daniels and Sorkin’s dialogues go together like peas and carrots. Daniels, plays John Sculley, one of the only men that Steve respects and can appreciate and alter the cadence of his lightning pace of his mind gets they get to have some terrific conferences and conflicts.
Seth Rogen’s Steve Wozniak or Woz is the dogged, honest voice that most of the people around Jobs are too afraid to be. Rogen is confident, fierce and prepared to be Woz. Inherent Vice’s Katherine Waterston plays Chrisann Brennan, mother to Steve’s child Lisa (played by Perla Janey-Jardine, Ripley Sobo and Mackenzie Moss). She’s a character that goes on the egomaniacal roller coaster with Jobs and becomes the recipient of some of his ugliest behaviour.
Steve Jobs is the key note speech of how you should approach a biopic; screenwriters grab your notebooks.
Blake Howard – follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Written by: Aaron Sorkin (based on the book by Walter Isaacson)
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels
MF: Steve Jobs
KW: Joanna Hoffman
SR: Steve Wozniak “Woz”
JD: John Sculley
Michael Stuhlbarg: Andy Hertzfeld
Katherine Waterston: Chrisann Brennan
Perla Janey-Jardine: Lisa (19)
Ripley Sobo: Lisa Brennan (9)
Mackenzie Moss: Lisa Brennan (5)