Steve Jobs is one of the more integral folks in this modern technological era of ours. Thus, a biopic was inevitable. While a couple of films were able to beat Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs to the punch, this was the Jobs movie people were waiting for. The one with the legitimately talented cast, the one that didn’t have Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs, and the one written by Aaron Sorkin. Of course, pedigree does not guarantee success. Fortunately, this particular film was knocked out of the park.
As you may have heard by now, this is not a traditional biopic. Instead, Steve Jobs takes place in the moments before three major Apple product launches for Jobs. These time periods are treated as sort of crucibles for Jobs, and the cast of characters that come in and out of his life. The same folks happen to show up at all of these events, people like Steve Wozniak and John Sculley and Jobs’ daughter Lisa, whom Jobs spends part of the film denying paternity of. It’s a drama about people, and in particular one loquacious, but unlikable, king of technology.
This is a movie about people talking. It’s just conversation upon conversation upon conversation. However, you will be hard-pressed to find many films that feel more intense than Steve Jobs. There is always turmoil, and everybody is always under the gun. It feels kinetic and frantic, but never rushed.
The dialogue, perhaps unsurprising for a Sorkin film, is very flowery, and usually excellent. Sorkin is a high ceiling/low floor type writer, but fortunately he hits the high notes here. Additionally, Boyle is able to put his mark on the film, even though one might expect a movie full of people talking backstage in theater spaces to not be terribly dynamic. Steve Jobs has no real interest in giving a full picture of Jobs’ life, the film doesn’t even enter the new millennium, but it still tells a full, deep story, with plenty of drama, and even a bit of humor.
The cast is top notch too. Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, who plays Joanna Hoffman, both got Oscar nods, and those are both justified. They are both excellent. While Seth Rogen got plenty of publicity for doing dramatic work as Wozniak, and while he is good, both Jeff Daniels as Sculley and Michael Stuhlbarg as Andy Hertzfeld are even better. Additionally, here’s a shout out for the girl who played Lisa in the middle period of the film. She is the rare child actor who is actually good. Not just acceptable, but generally good.
There are those who will poke and prod the film looking for factual errors and creative licenses. If you are watching a film, and it isn’t a documentary, and you are demanding verisimilitude, you are being unreasonable. This is a work of fiction, and it does not pretend to be anything else. This is a fiction movie about a real person, and it is a great film.
If you are looking for a movie to name Best Picture for 2015, Steve Jobs would be a fine choice. It’s a tremendous work, a wonderful blend of acting, writing, and directing. Even if you don’t care about Apple, or Jobs, this is a movie worth checking out.
Currently available on Digital HD, Steve Jobs will be released on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and On Demand on February 16. Bonus features on Blu-ray and DVD include two commentary tracks, one by director Danny Boyle and one by writer Aaron Sorkin and editor Elliot Graham, and a making-of featurette.