Steve Jobs was an enigmatic figure — was he a genius of product design, a master of the kind of manipulation colleagues called his “reality distortion field,” and/or co-creator and resurrector of Apple?
And while Steve Jobs the movie doesn’t give us the answer to that question, it does give us a glimpse, taking Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography as the jumping off point, into the myth that was the man.
Steve Jobs Is Not Your Typical Cradle To Grave Biopic
Most biopics take a birth to death approach hitting all the highlights in between to show how the person became who they were and what they thought about their life when they reflected back on it from their death bed. Instead, Steve Jobs is a play done in three acts. To be specific, it’s three separate and very different product launches — the Macintosh in 1984, in 1988 it’s the NeXT computer, and finally the colorful iMac in 1998.
In an interview with The Verge, Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) talked about his earliest decision on Steve Jobs.
“Before I knew what I wanted to do, I knew what I didn’t want to do: write a biopic.”
Steve Jobs ends up being less photo-realistic and more like an impressionistic painting. And this allows both Sorkin and the director, Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), to heighten the characterisation and the drama to illustrate a point about the man who was Steve Jobs and make the movie very entertaining in the process.
— WIRED (@WIRED) October 8, 2015
Aaron Sorkin’s Dialogue And Danny Boyle’s Visuals Really Bring Steve Jobs To Life
Sorkin is the king of writing smart dialogue that moves about as fast as a sonic jet and his work on Steve Jobs is no different. Along with the strong dialogue he also infuses each and every scene with a tension and conflict that allows the audience to really get a feel for these larger than life characters.
He pits Jobs against his colleagues; his partner, Wozniak; his CEO, John Scully (Jeff Daniels); Chrisann (Katherine Waterston), the mother of Lisa (Mackenzie Moss/Perla Haney-Jardine), a child he refuses to believe is his; but most of all against the pain he feels about having been adopted.
Danny Boyle’s job was to make the intense conversations visual and keep the intensity interesting, especially with the three similar product launches. And Boyle does it by cutting from the present to specific moments in the past and by getting brilliant performances from the actors.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 8, 2015
The Casting of Steve Jobs Is Brilliant
The cast of Steve Jobs isn’t one you’d likely choose. Michael Fassbender looks nothing like Jobs, Kate Winslet looks nothing like Joanna Hoffman, and Seth Rogen is known for his comedic performances not his dramatic chops. But again, this is what Sorkin and Boyle were after — this is not a documentary style retelling of Jobs’ life, this is a movie.
And all three of these actors embody the parts they play. Fassbender becomes Jobs right before your eyes. Winslet looks so unlike herself that you may be wondering when she’s going to appear in the movie after you’ve been watching her performance for 40 minutes or more. And Rogen comes across as a surprisingly effortless dramatic actor.
— Way Too Indie (@WayTooIndie) October 9, 2015
All told, with Sorkin and Boyle using these colours, Steve Jobs becomes an impressionistic painting well worth seeing for what it has to say about the human condition.
[Image courtesy Universal Pictures via Mirror]