Festival Review: Steve Jobs (2015)

Steve Jobs

A binary biopic of the computer genius and flawed man, Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs is a dazzling, moving tale of the digital revolution.

The Fault In The Stars

by Mark Wilshin

Steve Jobs

CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Structured around the three launches of the Macintosh, the Black Cube and the iMac, Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs is a digital opera in three acts. And with a sparkling, cineliterate script from Aaron Sorkin as well as a brilliant performance from Michael Fassbender as the Apple man with a chip on his hard drive, the biopic circumnavigates the tedium and pitfalls of the genre by taking the drama backstage, as Jobs rides his rocky relationships with marketing manager Joanna Hoffmann (Kate Winslet), designer Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), developer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) and daughter Lisa. A control freak burning with ambition, an artist’s ruthless perfectionism and a chronic fear of parenthood, Jobs alienates all those around him, but Boyle’s film finds its arc in the resolution of those relationships, as Jobs pays tribute to all those who got him there – from Einstein and Alan Turing to Steve Wozniak and the Apple II (with the inclusion of a photograph of John Lennon in his launch video) and erecting a testament to his daughter in translucent plastic in the form of an iMac. Taking place in dressing rooms, wings, orchestra pits and stalls – the metaphor of the avantgarde “orchestra conductor” Jobs for the film director is unmissable. And Steve Jobs is an engaging dramatisation of the conflict between the artist’s vision and the bottom line of business as well as the struggles and tensions of the collaborative process. Nevertheless, Boyle can’t resist souping up his story with some bells and whistles, as space shuttles or verses are projected onto walls and curtains. But while the puckish Fassbender carries the film, Kate Winslet delivers her simple role with such delicious ease it’s hard not to wish she had more screen time. Brilliantly written and quietly affecting, Steve Jobs is a biopic worthy of the Apple man – high-performance, original and not quite perfect.

Steve Jobs is now showing at the London Film Festival

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