Rates: * * * *
Why Did I Watch It? This is a favourite recent film and I felt like some film comfort food.
Steve Jobs: Apple co-founder, petulant jerk, reality distortion field generator. This energetic movie – one of three features on Jobs to come out after his death – gives a perspective on his life and work through a unique prism; via three product launches, spanning 15 odd years.
This simple conceit alllows you to watch events almost in fast forward (a concept you think Jobs may have approved of); relationships ebb and flow, people of central importance become less so, others replace them, his daughter grows up, the fortunes of Apple rise and fall and rise.
Each of the three launches has it’s own distinct tone. The unbridled optimism of the Macintosh launch, leading to the bare faced cycnicism of the NeXT era (where Jobs knowingly launches an inferior machine), to the more mature period after Jobs returns to Apple in the 90s. While the tone shifts, and one leads nicely to another, the pacing is never less than rapid.
This breakneck speed is well suited to the rapid fire dialogue of Aaron Sorkin, who delivers some of his best work; an endless barrage of memorable lines, zingers, put downs and word play. If Jobs plays the orchestra, as he states at one point, then words are his means; here is a guy who is never verbally wrong footed, and who uses language to thrust and parry, defend and attack. And, sometimes, to LASH. There is also a suprisingly high number of good jokes; it is easy to forget that Sorkin is funny as hell.
A stacked cast deliver the script with gusto. Fassbender, never better, is well matched by his opponents and occasional allies; Kate Winslet, terrific as his long suffering PA, Seth Rogan, likable and human as Jobs’ chief collaborator and spiritual opposite, Michael Stuhlbarg as a put upon engineer who finally finds the ability to stand up to his former boss. And Jeff Daniels channels his ‘Newsroom’ persona in three very different scenes.
An entertaining package. In my mind it is like watching an elaborately choreographed dance, where high calibre performers deftly execute a complicated series of steps.