RELEASED 2015 RUNTIME 122 MIN LANGUAGE ENGLISH DIRECTION DANNY BOYLE SCREENPLAY AARON SORKIN STARRING MICHAEL FASSBENDER, KATE WINSLET, SETH ROGEN, JEFF DANIELS, KATHERINE WATERSTON, MICHAEL STUHLBARG, MAKENZIE MOSS, RIPLEY SOBO, PERLA HANEY-JARDINE MUSIC DANIEL PEMBERTON
After one failed attempt in 2013 we finally have our definite Steve Jobs movie.
This time around Steve Jobs is being played by a fantastic Michael Fassbender who is being supported by Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffmann (head of marketing at Apple), Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, Michael Stuhlbarg as Andy Hertzfeld, and Jeff Daniels as John Scully.
This is an actors movie, mainly because it’s a dialogue driven plot, so for people who don’t enjoy dialogue, you will probably hate the film. For everybody else, you will be presented one of the most interesting screenplays this year written by the great Aaron Sorkin, who also wrote the screenplay for The Social Network and won the Oscar for it.
What makes it so interesting is that the plot is divided into 3 part with each focusing on one important product launch by Steve Jobs. But it is not about the product launch itself, but about the stuff that goes on backstage before the event. You see how Steve prepares his presentations and how he deals with people around him. His relationships with his co workers and his family are the focal point of the story. Especially his relationship with his ex wife and their daughter is one of the key aspects in the movie.
The other main focus is his relationship with John Scully. If you remember, he is the guy from Pepsi who got hired by Jobs to take over as CEO at Apple and eventually fired Steve from his own company. If you have read the biography by Walter Isaacson you may know the outcome and how the relationship evolved, for everyone else it’s worth not to spoil it. I found that to be the most interesting part mainly also because Jeff Daniels as John Scully is so great.
But let’s talk about Michael Fassbender for a moment. He is phenomenal! Yes he doesn’t look exactly how Steve Jobs, but after 5 minutes you will have adjusted to it, I promise. What makes his performance so special are his mannerisms and his voice that remind so much of Steve.
Also his body language is very much like his real counterpart’s. His performance is captivating and holds your attention in every scene he is in. He really does a phenomenal job carrying the movie and will be an Oscar contender this year for sure.
The other actor who in my opinion will have a shot at the Oscar will be Kate Winslet. Her chemistry with Michael Fassbender is the essence of the film because she acts alongside him in 75% of the movie. Their back and forth is so much fun to observe and make for another interesting relationship in the movie.
As you may have noticed, I love Danny Boyle. He was the perfect guy to direct the movie because his style fits the contemporary Silicon Valley atmosphere perfectly, even though it is a little bit more restrained than in his other movies. He doesn’t have to stylize the frames because the performances by his actors are so strong.
However, he made an interesting choice by using different formats for each section of the movie to highlight the technical advancement of Stevie’s products. The first section is filmed in 16mm, the second in 35mm and the last in digital. So, each section looks and feels different.
One more word to the structure of the film. I love the trend in recent biopics to encapsulate a self contained story rather than trying to tell a persons life story from A to Z. The last one that did it beautifully was the Martin Luther King Jr. film Selma in 2014. I hope this trend will hold on because it makes for less formulaic movies.
Overall this was a fantastic film with fantastic performances and interesting story structure. My only real complaint is that I would have actually liked to see certain scenes to play out in front of you. Careful readers may know what scenes I am referring to. It would have given you some down time from the long and heavy dialogues that can get a toll on you eventually. But that’s no reason to not watch the movie in the movie theatre, so go out and watch it, will ya!