It’s going to be awkward when Michael Fassbender wins the Oscar for Best Actor over Leonardo DiCaprio for a role that DiCaprio turned down…
“Steve Jobs” is a biopic based on the man of the same name. Fassbender plays the titular Apple co-founder, while Seth Rogen portrays Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet plays Joanna Hoffman, and Jeff Daniels portrays John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple. Based off a script by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle, the film follows Jobs in the hours leading up to the three biggest product launches of his career in 1984, 1988 and 1999.
I have been anticipating this movie for a very long time. I am absolutely in love with Aaron Sorkin’s brand of fast-paced dialogue and long monologues, and this film is a showcase for his craft. I also enjoy Seth Rogen, so even though he isn’t smoking weed and getting into hijinks with James Franco, he was a joy to watch, and he gives the most genuine performance of his career. However the real star of the film is Fassbender who while bearing very little physical resemblance to his real-life counterpart, embodies the brilliant, calculating and at times frustrating nature of the late-great Jobs.
The film is broken up into three main acts, each taking place in the hour leading up to an important product unveiling: the Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT box in 1988, and the iMac in 1998. Each one of these time periods is shot on different types of film (16mm, 35mm and digital), so each has a different look and feel. Overall, I really liked these approaches, and thought it was a very unique way of approaching a biopic.
The writing in the film is nothing short of excellent, if not perfect. Like I said, I may be a bit biased because I love me some Sorkin (“The Social Network” is the best written film of all-time, fun fact), but his ability to have characters we should hate become likable and sympathetic. Plus his trademark rapid-fire, almost irrelevant conversations that are often side-splittingly funny, all make Steve Jobs, a man who neglects the acknowledgment of his daughter and makes the lives of all his co-workers a living hell, a man that we want to see succeed.
The acting in the film is all spot on as well, and that is likely a byproduct of the script. Like I said, Rogen is shockingly effective and emotional as the under-appreciated Wozniak, Winslet is quietly great as Jobs’ long-time confidant Joanna, and there is great fun in Michael Stuhlbarg’s abused engineer, Andy Hertzfeld. But much like the title of the film, the stage belongs to Fassbender, who is a tornado of energy and emotion. He is condescending, unreasonable and probably not a very good guy, but he continues to win us over with wise-cracks and breaking things down so that just maybe we can try and see the world how he does.
Director Danny Boyle, like Fassbender, does a great job keeping the energy going, especially for the first two thirds of the film. When Jobs is building Apple up and the trying to tear it down, it is near perfect filmmaking. It’s the third act, the final 30 minutes or so, that the film starts to get winded. It is probably just by comparison, but it felt like the stakes were never as high, and all the real conflict had already been dealt with. The third act, much like most any film, is where we get resolutions and closure with many characters, and I just wanted to go back to the days when Jobs was telling his engineers that if they didn’t fix a problem he would go out on stage and publically name them responsible.
The first act of “Steve Jobs” is fantastic, the second is great, and the third is good, which all in all combines to a pretty great end product. It is hands-down one of the best films of the year, and the writing, directing and acting will all likely win the film some shiny trophies come award season.
Critics Rating: 8/10