Release Date: October 23, 2015
Runtime: 122 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Michael Fassbender; Kate Winslet; Jeff Daniels; Seth Rogen; Michael Stuhlbarg; Katherine Waterston
I came away from this movie with a great big ‘eh.’ It’s typical Aaron Sorkin. By this, I mean lots of people shouting pithy one-liners at each other in rapid cadence. I can’t exactly put my finger on it but the movie just wasn’t very interesting. Steve Jobs, computer visionary, quasi-deadbeat dad, general asshole, was undoubtedly a fascinating man, but you don’t really get a sense of just how fascinating from the film. This is one of those movies where everyone is trying so hard to act importantly because they know they are in a big important event movie. Stop. Just stop.
An interesting storytelling concept has the film divided into three acts covering three different product launches in Jobs’ career: the initial Mac computer in 1984, ill-fated Next computer system in 1988, and finally, the iMac in 1998, which, as we all know, will change the face of personal computers forever.
Michael Fassbender is a good Jobs: all business and emotionally vacant, especially when it comes to his daughter whom he barely acknowledges. Kate Winslet gives another solid performance as Jobs’ long-suffering right-hand director of marketing. Jeff Daniels does good work as the former Apple CEO, John Scully, and Seth Rogen has a few scenes as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, but doesn’t really have much to do other than lurk in the background and have a few shouting matches with Jobs. He’s fine though.
I really think my problem here is with Sorkin’s screenplay…it just doesn’t say much. Jobs had disagreements with co-workers, a troubled relationship with his daughter, and, apparently, an enormous ego fueled by a laser-sharp vision of where technology would take us. The film, unfortunately, never really allows us access into the mind of Jobs and what makes him such a peculiar and fascinating man. There’s some talk about his being adopted, but it all feels like a plot mechanism in which to explain his state of being and doesn’t seem to actually have affected Jobs at all. ‘Steve Jobs’ feels like nothing more than the biography of your average run-of-the-mill CEO. The movie is all talk, talk, talk, no action or reaction. It probably would’ve been great theater.