Even though I use Apple products, I think Steve Jobs is a little overrated for his accomplishments. If you look back at the origin of Apple, Steve Wozniak had way more to do with its creation. He knew the hardware, how to make it, and had better intentions. As far as I know, he just wanted to make computers accessible to everyone without cost. Jobs only provided aesthetic suggestions to make it look good while behaving like an egotistical motivational speaker. He is more of a glorified mascot with a notorious mean-streak than an artist. There is no denying a keen attention to how something looks is vital to a product’s appeal, but you should not credit the man for things he had nothing to do with.
Since his passing, Jobs has been the subject of many television documentaries and gained the status of cultural icon. The first movie about him came out two years after his death and stared Ashton Kutcher, which is why I did not see it. Today we have Steve Jobs with a better director, Danny Boyle, writer, Aaron Sorkin, and a far better actor, Stelios (name gag). Did I learn anything new about the man behind Apple or does it reaffirm my standing on his exaggerated importance?
Following the success of the Apple 2, Jobs, played by Bobby Sands, is on the verge of revealing the Macintosh in the midst of company in fighting and drama concerning his estranged daughter. As the years go by, problems escalate and Jobs takes drastic measures to stay relevant and learns to change who he is.
Steve is a weird movie to say the least. It is not so much a straightforward biopic as it is a character study. The history of Apple plays out as a subplot with the entirety of the focus is on Jobs. It complements his development where he begins as a maverick that drifts to some semblance of normality with every moment in his life. Each point in the story presents some kind of conflict regarding either the relationship with his daughter or the company. His growth is on full display as every resolution leads to a different state Jobs’ personality.
While the structure of Steve is basic storytelling, it is executed like a play. A majority of the locations even take place in auditoriums. Each of the three acts is centered on a reveal presentation of products at different phases of the company’s history and the corresponding events in Jobs’ life. The entire movie is conversational as the characters talk about the presentation at hand and more personal matters. It helps to have some knowledge of Apple as a lot of what is talked about is not widely known. The flow of the story is exceptional. The transitions from subject to subject feel natural and paced in a consistent fashion.
Character pieces are acting oriented and Steve is full of fantastic performances. Archie Hicox is great in just about everything. No matter the genre or character, he will do his very best and make it feel real. Paul was Jobs in every way, from the look and voice, to his infamous intensity, and stole the show. He had great chemistry with Kate Winslet’s Joanna as she tries keep up with his eccentric personality and ridiculous demands. Jeff Daniels as John Sculley probably had the better scenes with Magneto as they got into these screaming matches of some of the best acting I have seen recently. Seth Rogen was probably at his very best in years as Wozniak, capturing his modest personality with near seamless ease.
Steve Jobs is an interesting exploration of technology’s most iconic and controversial figures. It is also one of the best movies of the year thanks Boyle’s signature unconventional direction, Sorkin’s perfect script, and David’s flawless performance. If you want to know how to write story and dialog, look no further, and go see it while you can.