Steve Jobs SPOILER-FREE Review
Steve Jobs is a movie I have been looking forward to for a while. It has gone through many different hands. At first, David Fincher was set to direct, with Christian Bale in the titular role. Then both dropped out, and Leonardo DiCaprio was later cast. He then left, and Bale came back, however left again. Then, Danny Boyle came on to direct and Michael Fassbender was set to star. But after last year's Sony Hack, the film left Sony and went to Universal. After all that drama, it finally got made at Universal, with Boyle and Fassbender. Many were hopeful yet apprehensive that this movie would still be good after all the switches and changes. But after seeing the film, I can tell you right now, this is one of the best films of the year.
The film tells the story of Apple CEO Steve Jobs (Fassbender), behind the scenes of three major public announcements: the launch of the Macintosh, the launch of the NeXT Computer and the launch of the iMAC. We follow Jobs behind the scenes as he prepares for each of these launches, and all the arguments he has with former friends, workers and even his own daughter. And despite all the time gaps, we still find a cohesive story and a definitive character arc.
Two things really make this film: the style and the performances. I'll start with the former. The film is divided into three acts- each being one of the launches. Each act is also filmed differently. The first launch, taking place in 1984, is filmed in 16mm film. The 1988 launch is 35mm film, and the 1998 launch is filmed in digital. I had heard this prior to seeing the film, and it wasn't until they cut between scenes from all three time periods that I could see the visual differences. The gradual inclination towards the present allows for you to be fully immersed, and these stylistic differences helped further propel that immersion. The screenplay by Aaron Sorkin was brilliant. It effectively set up this unique structure, and allowed for a simple yet engaging story.
Now let's talk about the performances. Basically, this movie is a bunch of people standing around yelling at each other, but it is absolutely compelling. The dialogue written by Sorkin is great, but the cast brings energy and power to the words. Fassbender carries this film, and cements himself as one of the best actors working today. He plays Jobs perfectly: one part genius, two parts asshole. While he was being a dick to everyone around him, including his own daughter, you remarkably still cared about him. This is a result of a great script and a great performance. Kate Winslet is unrecognizable as Joanna Hoffman, and also turns in a really good performance. Jeff Daniels is a powerhouse in this film. I wasn't sure how Seth Rogen would fare among these A-list, Academy-worthy thespians, but while he doesn't give an astonishing performance, he without a doubt holds his own.
Even though there are time gaps in between the acts, the film was written efficiently enough as to create an arc for Steve Jobs. As he gets older, we see him mature and, though still an asshole, he changes. This connective tissues allows the movie to be a whole, complete film despite being just three scenes in history. It's this element that makes me believe Sorkin will get an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. I also think Fassbender, Winslet and Daniels will get acting nominations, as well as Boyle for Best Director. This movie is also probably get nominated for Best Picture. This is going to be a serious Oscar contender.
My one real complaint about this movie was pointed out to me before I even saw the film. Someone who was reviewing the film made a point that this movie should have included the launch of the iPhone as well, as it is something that everyone can universally relate to. After watching the movie, I completely agree. Though I was engaged, I had never heard of the NeXT computer. It was hard to be invested in the technology, though the film made up for it in making me invested in the characters. However, a fourth act involving the iPhone would have enhanced the film further. I also think the film could have worked to better explain the technology. I'm not a tech geek, so I didn't know a lot of the things they were talking about. They did try to make it understandable to everyone, but it could have been improved.
Overall, Steve Jobs is a masterful film. It was brilliantly written, with a very unique style. It perfectly balances the three-act style with still telling a complete, cohesive story. It's well-written words are brought to life by powerful performances, which engage and entertain the audience. However, a fourth act concerning the iPhone would have enhanced the film further, and more work could have been done to make the technological aspect more accessible to the mass audience. But in the end, Steve Jobs is one of the best movies of the year, and will be, without a doubt, a major Oscar contender.
What do you think? Have you seen Steve Jobs? Did you like it? Leave your (spoiler-free) thoughts in the comments section below.
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