Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs is a compelling drama. Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay provides excellent material for the director to work with.
In 1984, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is getting ready to unveil the Macintosh computer to the world. Behind the scenes of the launch, things are frantic with glitches in the demo, and the mother of Steve’s daughter demanding to talk to him…
Danny Boyle’s pseudo-biopic Steve Jobs is set behind the scenes at the launches of three products by the title character. Given this premise, the film should not be enthralling. However, Steve Jobs bucks this assumption thanks to some brilliant writing by Aaron Sorkin.
The film has a very simple set up, choosing three pivotal periods to tell the story of the protagonist’s life and career. Each segment takes place backstage at a product launch, in the time immediately before a public unveiling. There are also a handful of brief flashback sequences to fill in some of the backstory. It is disputable how much of this resembles real events. Nevertheless, the action that takes place is tense and dramatic.
The ticking clock device works really well in the first segment of Steve Jobs. The pressure of the situation is clear, yet Sorkin piles on a multitude of elements to tell the protagonist’s tale. The more personal aspects of Jobs’ life come through the interactions with his daughter Lisa and her mother Chrisann, as well as conversations with John Sculley. Career and work points are highlighted by Steve Wozniak and Andy Hertzfeld. Meanwhile, marketing executive Joanna Hoffman holds it all together, acting as supreme confidant in the film. Steve Jobs has been carefully crafted to not only take place at important junctures in Apple’s history, but to highlight the changing relationships Jobs has with the main characters.
Michael Fassbender delivers an assured performance as the title character. Michael Stuhlbarg stands out among the supported cast, whilst Kate Winslet is as solid as ever. Music is a great accompaniment, changing to reflect the different eras depicted in the film. The scoring for the first segment is particularly good.
Steve Jobs exhibits what a great screenwriter Sorkin is. The ending may not please all, but overall the film is immensely engrossing.
Steve Jobs is closing the London Film Festival in October 2015.