Review: Steve Jobs
While it is strange to have a film focus on the same man come out into theaters within such a short period of each other, this film differs from the former by focusing more on the man in question rather then his actions. Both films were successful at certain things, but both more then anything had it's shortcomings. Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin are in a class of their own in terms of what they do to tell a story and their combined efforts alongside the terrific acting ability of Michael Fassbender creates a tremendous trio to tell the story of Steve Jobs. Instead of a story of a man, an innovator, it has instead become a father and daughter story at it's core. It has it's share of pitfalls but manages to keep you invested due to that very trio.
The plot follows Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) as he is working to be the innovator that we know him to be but continues to have his own struggles due to his attitude in the workplace pushing people away from others alongside with his insistence on changing. His ex girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston) comes to him in the back room before a show introducing his daughter Lisa to him who Jobs continues to deny his parentage to her. Eventually he warms up to the idea as he sees her playing with a computer that he had created and the film goes through different times in his life as he leaves Apple in his attempt to revolutionize the computer world.
The biggest strength of the movie is very easily to identify as the screen writer is Aaron Sorkin, the director is Danny Boyle and the main actor is Michael Fassbender. All three of them are at the top of the respectful fields and Sorkin in particular is Oscar gold. He has a tremendous way with words as he writes deeply engaging dialogue and fully realized characters in every film he pens. This film in particular relies on it's characters and the conversations that they have. The exposition and scenes in the hands of a lesser writer could have been a complete bore but under the careful hands of Aaron Sorkin he pulls it off beautifully. Danny Boyle on the other hand is a tremendous director as well and has a terrific eye for creating visually appealing scenes. One scene in particular is a two shot of Fassbender and Kate Winslet down a narrow hallway sticks out to me as Fassbender's character explains to her the visionary path he has is similar to astronauts. As this is laid out to Winslet's character, the wall behind her begins to change into a rocketship. It is a beautiful visual to help add to the story.
Michael Fassbender's perfomance as Steve Jobs is also extraordinary. He manages to be completely unlikable but yet you are glued to your television due to his charisma and screen presence. The whole movie hinges on his performance which clearly, he has succeeded as he has been awarded a nomination as Best Actor by the Academy Awards. While his character can be unlikable and rough around the edges the father-daughter relationship that he develops over the course of the film manages to ground him. Another aspect that works is his co-star in Kate Winslet. She is in many aspects the emotional compass for Fassbender's Jobs. Where Fassbender is calculating and a genius, Winslet is warm and affectionate but yet still also incredibly smart in her own right. The two work very well off of each other. However, despite the powerful performances and terrific work behind the camera there is something that manages to hold the film back. It could be as simple as the fact that it is over saturation as we have seen a film on him already as well as books and so on. The pace of the film is also off a bit as it has a tendency to skip ahead which leaves out some particularly big plot points. That choice in particular tends to make the film seem a bit messy. The drama between Fassbender and Seth Rogen's character in particular stands out like a sore thumb in the film as well. The two are supposed to be equal and yet Rogen comes off a bit dimwitted and dense in comparison. Overall, despite a few shortcomings the film still is engaging thanks in large part to the three big stars of the film.