Steve Jobs

3 February 2016 | 5:59 pm | David O’Connell

"Steve Jobs is testament to a superb pairing of writer and director in an attempt to understand one of the icons of our age."

Looking at three critical launches during Steve Jobs' career, this film gives us an insight into the character of the man himself. Covering the 1984 launch of the Macintosh, the 1988 launch of NeXT, and the 1998 launch of the iMac. These are used as a platform to examine Jobs' relationship with his colleges, employees, corporate heads, and his estranged daughter, Lisa.

There is a strange Ouroboros loop about this film. It attempts to demystify the legend of Jobs by showing us the construction of the legend of Jobs. Paradoxical though this might be, for the most part this works. Steve Jobs is a film rife with construction, both narratively (the construction of the Jobs legend, the making of Apple, the birth of the modern computer age) and structurally (the breaking of the film into a three-act structure, the repetition of characters in these events, and the revisiting of arguments). Through the staging of three important events in Jobs' career we are given three dramatic opportunities to see these interactions of characters, and to judge the genius by his treatment of those around him. We see the evolution of the character through the main points of biographical note till we finally see the image we are familiar with.

To this end Boyle and Sorkin are an ideal match. The result of this collaboration might be something that is less concerned about an attempted presentation of a universal truth, but rather a carefully honed and crafted piece. Sorkin's dialogue is in fine form as the characters bounce off each other in rapid pace. Sure, they are mere mouthpieces for that dialogue. Sure, the unlikely, repetitive nature of those confrontations occurring at these key points, is so ridiculous, that Sorkin is forced to lampshade it. Ultimately that doesn't mater. It is easy for the audience to get swept up in the drama of the events, and forgive it its mummery.  The script is powerful, the actors are on form, and Boyle certainly how to create visual interest for our glimpse behind the curtain.

Fassbender is mesmerising as Jobs, nailing the incarnations of the man through the various stages of his history. He carries the lion's share of the film, not merely by being the titular character but rather the lynch-pin that the entire structure is built upon. Everything revolves around his interaction with others, demonstrating his genius and the flaws of his character. The subtle evolution is masterfully handled, as he tweaks traits through the eras. Although it must be said that all the ensemble cast is top notch here, Rogen as uber nerd Steve Wozniak is unexpectedly superb casting and he nails the role with nuance.

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As mythological as a Shakespeare play, and equally as fascinating, Steve Jobs is testament to a superb pairing of writer and director in an attempt to understand one of the icons of our age.

Originally published in X-Press Magazine