A variety of words and perceptions come to mind when the name Steve Jobs is mentioned. Many will immediately think Apple or iTunes. Others, inspirational products, tenacious businessman, innovation. Whatever your associations, people are innately intrigued by his person and his legacy, as is the case with many prominent figures throughout history. Steve Jobs, directed by Academy Award-winner Danny Boyle, is the fifth film to attempt to provide an insight into his world, and I was excited to see which direction this would take.
Opening backstage with the 1984 unveiling of the Macintosh computer, we are invited to essentially become a fly on the wall at this and the subsequent launches of the NeXT computer in 1988 and finally the 1998 iMac. A fly buzzing, somewhat frantically, to keep up with Jobs (Michael Fassbender) , his loyal assistant (Kate Winslet) and the characters that help mould his story, namely co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) and former CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels). On the periphery of the action is the strained relationship between Jobs and his daughter, Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine).
I’ll be honest and say that, fundamentally, Fassbender succeeds in portraying Jobs as a fantastically ruthless and even pig-headed marketing extraordinaire who is unapologetically indifferent to the fact that, well, most people don’t like him. Winslet gives a typically sound performance as his assistant, and the dynamic of their relationship was a major plus in a production that might otherwise have been emotionally vacant in her absence. Despite Jobs’ relentless yet frustrating tenacity, we are assumedly given an accurate depiction of his character, what it has achieved and what it has cost him. Adding to the film’s appeal is its unexpected wit and humour, without which it may have fallen flat.
What I appreciated most about the film was director Danny Boyle’s ability to refrain from deifying Steve Jobs as the ultimate computer-making demi-god, and his boldness in doing so. He exposes his flaws, his weaknesses, and balances this with a fast-paced energy that can only fascinate the audience. Perhaps not an enduring classic, but certainly a version worth watching. By the end, Boyle manages to capture a sense of poignancy without being sensational, and for me that was what left its mark.
Decide for yourselves about the man, the myth and the legend on Friday November 13, when the film will be released in cinemas across the UK. See it locally at Movie House Cinemaswww.moviehouse.co.uk.