Steve Jobs

October 28, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Posted in 2015 | Leave a comment
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So, how many movies have we had about Steve Jobs since his death? By my count, it’s 5, if you include documentaries. That’s no shortage of directorial insight into who this man was. It’s a fascinating question about why we are so much more interested in the inventor of the iPhone than we are in world leaders, humanitarians, killers, rock stars or Bill Gates, for that matter. Why Steve Jobs? Whatever the reason, you won’t find the answer here, as this film seems to have little to do with its eponymous character. Taking place in the moments before the premiere of three pieces of technology (the Macintosh, the NeXT and the iMac), the film follows Jobs’ backstage demands, arguments and pearls of wisdom just before he is about to change the world. The problem is that, by all accounts, none of these things happened. Obviously, the product roll-outs did but, based on all the folks purportedly in the room, these conversations were entirely fictional. This is a bit of a problem for a biography that is conversation focused. You will learn nothing here about who Jobs actually was. Instead, you will be treated to 2 hours of delicious Aaron Sorkin repartee. Every scene is full of fun banter, wonderful arguments and quotable one-liners but, unlike “The Social Network,” it doesn’t occur within the framework of a cohesive narrative. These are just clever moments in time. That serves to give each moment more weight but it also puts a greater burden on accuracy. We knew that the dialogue credited to Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t real but it didn’t matter because we were also interested in the story. There is no story here, which means that the dialogue does all the heavy lifting. The fact that it is entirely fiction leaves the audience completely disconnected from the idea that this has anything at all to do with Steve Jobs. The man on the screen (played terrifically by Michael Fassbender) is a fascinating character but who is he? We never learn. In fact, we learn nothing about anyone in the movie. What we do have is a set of fantastic actors (including Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels and Seth Rogan) doing an amazing job of firing off Sorkin’s traditionally rich, rapid-fire and bitingly clever dialogue. So, if you were hoping for a realistic portrait, you’re going to be disappointed, as this is less Vermeer and more Van Gogh. And who doesn’t love Van Gogh? Just understand why you are seeing this film. It is not for a realistic portrait of the subject but, rather, to admire the artist. As such, this film would have been better names “Aaron Sorkin.” At least, he has a presence on screen.

 

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