Movie Review | Steve Jobs (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Freda Cooper 10.11.2015

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Steve Jobs (UK Rating: 15)

This week is one for star turns, as opening in cinemas on Friday 13th November is Maggie Smith as The Lady in the Van, plus Michael Fassbender in the title role of Steve Jobs on the same day. This will be his third big film of 2015 - the others were Slow West and Macbeth - and, strangely enough, he was only third choice to play Jobs. Well, it looks like a case of third time lucky.
Image for Movie Review | Steve Jobs (Lights, Camera, Action!)

This is no conventional biopic, though, with Danny Boyle's film comes in three acts instead, each one culminating in a major product launch from Jobs' career. There's the Macintosh in 1984, NeXT in 1988, and the iMac in 1998, but the actual launches are never seen. The focus is on events behind the scenes, played out in real time, and, while they are constructed in similar ways, they always take the story forwards. His difficult relationship with his daughter, for instance - the girl he denies in the first part of the film. His working relationships with best friend Steve Wozniack (Seth Rogan), Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), and his Marketing Director, and "work wife," Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), also come into play. Each part contains at least one big showdown between Jobs and a member of his team.

The focus is very much on him and his personality. The man on the screen would have been more than happy with that approach: in fact, he wouldn't have considered any other way of telling the story. He's highly talented, full of vision and ambition, but the other side of him is tyrannical, ruthless to the point of brutal, and a megalomaniac for whom loyalty and hard work mean nothing. His childhood - he was adopted twice - is presented as an explanation for his detachment from other people, but it isn't the full story. It does, however, give an insight into his most significant relationship in the film, that of him and his daughter, which was always troubled.

A bright toddler at the start of the film, by the time the third part arrives, she's an angry teenager, desperate for a proper relationship with her father but damaged by his rejection. Despite having Hoffman as a go-between, thanks to her superior communication skills, the two are never able to be comfortable together.

Fassbender is simply sensational as Jobs - a nightmare to work with, charismatic, commanding, and utterly riveting. He carries the film like he can't help it, but he can't deliver the showdown scenes without his co-stars being up to the mark, as well. His searing confrontation with Jeff Daniel's John Sculley sets the screen on fire with unbridled ferocity and it's easily the high point of the film. Scenes like that are also dependent on strong dialogue, and Aaron Sorkin's script delivers the goods in spades. Sharp and insightful, it's also given real precision by the scenes taking place in real time.

Image for Movie Review | Steve Jobs (Lights, Camera, Action!)

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10
Big business and internal politics has never been more riveting. Jobs may be regarded as something of a hero to the outside world but, in Steve Jobs, under the guiding hands of Boyle and Fassbender, he becomes an anti-hero, in both his professional and personal life. To make such an engrossing film with a central character who is so unsympathetic is a huge achievement, and one that's already creating awards buzz for Fassbender's performance.

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