The story of Apple’s co-founder is told through behind-the-scenes interactions before three production launches in Steve Jobs. Under the backdrop of the launches for the Macintosh in 1984, NeXT Computer in 1988, and iMac in 1988, Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) has repeated behind-the-scenes interactions with various individuals. Thiss includes stressed out marketing executive Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), Apple CEO and mentor John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), computer engineer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg), and ex-lover Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston), who wants Jobs to acknowledge and support their daughter Lisa.
Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the biography by Walter Isaacson, Steve Jobs arrives two years after the Ashton Kutcher starring biopic Jobs and mere months after Alex Gibney’s documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine. As such, there is without a doubt no shortage of films about Apple’s co-founder, who many considered to be a genius.
Probably the thing that makes Steve Jobs stand out from the other films is that it is not a traditional biopic. The film has three very distinct acts, all of which take place before a product launch that Steve Jobs is about to make. In each act, Jobs has lengthy and often heated conversations with the same group of people, which makes the film feel much more like a play than a movie. There is also an obvious comparison between Steve Jobs and last year’s Birdman, since the action is always moving backstage and each act is essentially one large non-stop scene.
At the very least, this is an interesting way to present the story of Steve Jobs. However, since it is always the exact same people that Steve Jobs is communicating with, often for the very same reason, the film quickly becomes quite repetitive and even a bit monotonous. I have nothing against the performances of the all-star cast in the film, but it can be quite dull watching a film, which is all about moving from one lengthy conversation to the next. That said, the film does feature a few flashbacks to further illustrate what is being said.
I’m not going to really say that much about how Steve Jobs the film relates to Steve Jobs the man, since the film seems to take place in a heightened reality, where the actual events are changed for dramatic effect. However, it is a little too much for Steve Jobs to verbally allude to every accomplishment Jobs made in his career, including a somewhat cringe-worthy reference to the iPod towards the end of the film. At the very least, the film doesn’t sugercoat the fact that Jobs was a huge egotistical jerk.
I am ultimately quite divided on Steve Jobs. While it does have a very original presentation, it is this presentation that becomes the film’s ultimate fault. Those who are not bothered with Steve Jobs having repeated conversations with the same five individuals probably wouldn’t mind this film. However, this format really became taxing and dull towards the end and it really effected my ultimate enjoyment of the film.