Steve Jobs

 

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Having written about one giant of modern technology, Mark Zuckerberg, for The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin turns his attention to Steve Jobs and the world of computers. 

 

As it turns out the one indisputable fact about Steve Jobs is the quality of the acting as it covers the period from 1984 to 1998. Michael Fassbender, aging adroitly in the title role, is on magnificent form, but so too is Kate Winslet playing Joanna Hoffman who was in charge of communications for Apple working alongside Jobs. But, in spite of that, rather more comment has been made on the issue of whether this is truly a Danny Boyle film (he directed) or if it is more apt to think of it as an Aaron Sorkin picture. The amount of dialogue written by the latter makes it central to the picture and Sorkin has a distinctive style previously noted in The Social Network. Arguably, one has to go back over sixty years to the heyday of Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, A Letter to Three Wives) to find such interest in a screenwriter (admittedly Mankiewicz, unlike Sorkin, also directed but it was his writing for which he won special admiration).

 

Certainly the unusual nature of the film is down to Sorkin. Instead of a straight-through narrative about the life and work of Steve Jobs, we are given a series of three parallel episodes set in 1984, 1988 and 19989 respectively. Each time we witness the events leading up to a new launch, first the Apple Macintoch computer, then the NeXT and finally the iMac. On each occasion other individuals appear in turn leading up to comments from CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels): among them we encounter Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogan), programmer Andy Herzfeld (Michael Stahlbarg) and Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Winterston) who is the mother of Jobs’s child, Lara, who ages from six to nineteen in the course of the movie.

 

 Steve Jobs

 Apple Pi : Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman and Michael Fassbender as Steve

 

The film convincingly portrays Jobs as a man of remarkable charisma and energy who put people under such pressure that although he was venerated by many he was also disliked. However, the structure, albeit akin to offering variations on a theme, often seems to be going round in circles and all the more so because the film lasts for over two hours. Although Jobs and his career are the real focus, it is only his changing relationship with Lara that truly moves forward. Boyle plays to the concept by adopting an interesting and sometimes stylised approach to the material, but you probably need to be fascinated by our technological age to emerge from the film wholly satisfied. Nevertheless, when it comes to the work of Fassbender and Winslet approval should be unanimous.
 

MANSEL STIMPSON       

  

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogan, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Mackenzie Moss, Ripley Sobo, Perla Haney-Jardine, John Ortiz.

  

Dir Danny Boyle, Pro Mark Gordon. Guymon Casady, Boyle and others, Screenplay Aaron Sorkin based on the book by Walter Isaacson, Ph Alwin Küchler, Pro Des Guy Hendrix Dyas, Ed Elliot Graham, Music Daniel Pemberton, Costumes Suttirat Larlarb.

 

Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures/a Scott Rudin, Entertainment 360, Mark Gordon Company, Decibel Films, Cloud Eight Films production etc.-Universal Pictures.
122 mins. USA/UK/Japan. 2015. Rel: 13 November 2015. Cert. 15.