director: Danny Boyle,
writer: Aaron Sorkin
starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels
genre: Drama | Biopic
released: 9 October 2015 (U.S.), 12 November 2015 (Germany), 21 January 2016 (Greece), 4 February 2016 (Australia)
Having already seen two Steve Jobs biopics and been bombarded this past decade by continuous media attention to him being a "genius" that we should model success on, had me disinterested at the prospect of ever seeing a third biopic. But wouldn't you know it, the third biopic is actually of the three the most magical telling of his story. In that it tells you everything you need to know about the character and then some. With a grace, speed and intelligence, that you can't look away from. While also accepting the inaccurate details of his life as necessary to tell the incredible story of a fascinating man, but not of a genius.
Split into three parts. The film follows Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) during his big product launches across three different periods in his life, that all deal with his personal life and professional exceptionalism. He is consistently followed by his confidant Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), while also tech partners, friends and family throughout the film. All playing an important part to the person he ends being by the end of the film who isn't perfect, but who did learn to be better at being different.
This film could have been an Oscar front runner, cash cow and marketing marvel, if it had been released around three years ago. When Steve Jobs mania was still fresh after his death. The whole world then, including U.S. President Obama praised him constantly with many articles and books being written about him. Though, probably for logistical reasons the production took its time to get things started. One getting the script commissioned and written by Sorkin, then hiring a director to handle the production and picking the lead actor after a few of them dropped out of the project or passed on it at the last second.
And while the film lost the chance at a media frenzy and mass audience glory, it is still quite the marvelous film in being hypnotic in its demand of your attention. From a man that was terribly egoistic, viciously honest and determined beyond the dictionary's definition of the word.
With any such production it all starts with the script and Sorkin's manipulation of events and facts to reach us to an emotional climax that makes sense to Jobs life and all through the 3 most important Apple events. Intercut often with Jobs personal moments, quirks and intricate behind scenes deals. Each of the characters he encounters is also at the same time a connection to a particular part of his life and insight on how Jobs would deal with certain people and situations. Wozniak being his past and personal friendship, John Sculley his connection to Apple's Business side and professional partner, Andy the tech side and working relationship with employees, Kate his confidant and Lisa his family. How much of this was on purpose or just happened naturally I don't know, but it works.
Its just amazing how much information and little factoids of Jobs and his methods are crammed into this film. From employee grievances, the technical stubbornness of Apple with its closed end to end computers, while also the personal and business relationships between Jobs and his board which showed that it could have been much different for him and the company he helped create.
Heading the project was Danny Boyle, who is a much better director than most of his directoral work. Having proved he can be a cinematic pioneer (Trainspotting), cooky story teller (A Life Less Ordinary) and even out there with some his movie choices (Sunshine), and for those choices I couldn't fault Boyle 100% for them. As he did provide them with a distinct character and vision that few could bring to them. Same with the Jobs film where he had the right idea and good faith in the script. That almost everything could be told in the little amount of time, shoving all kinds of characters and arcs and mini arcs, while focusing mainly on the one subject that is Jobs and his daughter Lisa.
Also worthy of mention is the film's cinematography, which helped immensely in sinking us in pivotal dramatic scenes that are short but impactful in the film. Scenes where they needed to have a distinct feeling with the particular lighting chosen. Prime example is the boardroom scene lighting where dark decisions are being made an with intense spotlights. While at the same time rain is in the background and people are closeted in the shadows. It's the cinematography's incombination with the layout of the scene and the blocking that really helped the drama on screen. Details that most audiences won't notice, but do play a crucial part in how we perceive and feel about an individual scene and film.
Concerning the man himself, genius business he may have been, but nothing more and this should be reinforced to the mass and our world leaders in politics and business. Because when President Obama mentions who will be the next Steve Jobs, he immediately forgets about Steve Wozniak and about the fact that Jobs took a long time to come to his own as a human being and that we all shouldn't aspire to be a megalomaniacal professional, just to be like him in order to have success and fame. Because that was his path to success, creating a lot of enemies along the way and it shouldn't necessarily beasier yoyours or mine.
Biopics are a tricky production to master. With too many timelines, important events and always leaving people unhappy at the omissions or inaccuracies made. Even still with all this in mind, the direction taken of where Jobs finally realizes that he can be who he is without being the greatest a**hole in the business is great, informative and incredibly enlightening of how an intelligent human being may see himself almost as a flawed god amongst mortals. And also with an appropriate eloquence and handling that only comes when you have the best of people directing and writing your project, while also a titular performance that was undoubtedly one of the most underrated of last year.