A halfway told biopic that focuses too much on dialogue and not enough on actual story. I’m a sucker for biopics, my most recent one that I enjoy being Bohemian Rhapsody. Steve Jobs as a person was always known as an innovator, especially for my generation. It wasn’t until his death though that I actually became curious about his success and how he came to be who he is now. I remember shortly after his death there was a biopic called Jobs that I was interested in, but I actually never got around to seeing. The second and most recent want “Steve Jobs” looked to be something special with everyone involved. I watched it when it was released back in 2015, but I couldn’t remember it too much so I finally decided to check it out again to see how good it was.
Danny Boyle is a very interesting director and has directed some fantastic movies, so I was never really worried about his work on this film. As far as directing goes, this movie does have some great scenes that land on the shoulders of the director as well as holding the whole movie together of course, but it never really felt like his movie. The one point of cool direction I noticed was that as we go through the three periods of time, the overall picture changes and evolves too.
What I mean is that when we first meet Steve in the very beginning of the film, it looks like it was actually shot on older film and was shot during that period rather than now. As the years go by and we follow him in the next two periods of time, the image becomes shaper and digital rather than film which is a cool usage of imagery. In a certain way, it could have almost felt like the movie Boyhood where we follow the life of a boy as he becomes a man but it was actually shot over a decade of time in real time.
I know that these two movies aren’t exactly the same, but it does feel like Boyle was trying to go for that kind of effect. This does take me back though to me not feeling like this was really his movie. There was only so much he could actually do given the fact that he was limited to three specific periods of time, all of which being the events right before three different presentations and taking place only there in the building. A problem I had was that even if you’re going to do that then at least show me the presentation, but no, the movie always cut before the presentation which was something I would have liked to have seen.
I thought maybe just the first instance they would pass over the presentation, except all three times they did the same thing. This got me interested in who actually wrote the movie which I didn’t look up till after I finished watching the movie. I had a theory of who it could have been based on the quick snappy dialogue and turns out I was right and answered my question of why this didn’t feel like Boyle’s movie. Aaron Sorkin was the writer.
I like Sorkin and it would be difficult for anyone to knock him as a writer because he’s one of the best in the business, especially when we’re talking about dialogue. The problem with his writing though is that there has to be a good balance between director and writer with him so that the film works well. A perfect example being the Social Network. I find that in this movie, the writing over shadows the directing to the point where it feels like Boyle is being held back while the film relies only on the writing. I guess I can’t blame Boyle at all because part of his job is to direct a script the best he can which he does, so ultimately I think this movie fails with its writing.
The writing and dialogue is good, but it seems like Sorkin cared more about trying to have a bunch of intense conversations rather than actually tell a good story. I see what he was actually trying to do and we do get a lot of insight as to who Steve Jobs was, but I think that as a movie it drops the ball because it feels like its three moments of what should have been a more longer movie. I like the movie with the acting and writing, but the story as a whole is a bit of a letdown.
One thing that does help this movie is the acting and great casting choices that they made. Our lead being Michael Fassbender who I know mostly for his role in the X-Men movies as well as many others, but I wasn’t sure at the time if he was actually a good choice for Steve Jobs or not. Turns out he was a great choice and gave an awards worthy performance. It can be hard to pull of Sorkin dialogue, but he does it really well and I was very impressed with his work. He was also joined by Seth Rogen, Kate Winslett, and Jeff Daniels.
Jeff Daniels I would say was about what he usually is in his dramatic roles, with the other two being the real surprises of the film. Rogen was surprisingly perfect for playing Wozniack, I love seeing actors like him taking on a dramatic role and showing how good they can be. Winslett however was the biggest surprise because I didn’t even realize that it was her in the movie until after and saw the credits. She disappeared into her role and played perfectly off of Fassbender. The final surprise that I almost forgot about was Katherine Waterston who plays his ex that he has a daughter with. This may be the oldest movie that I’ve seen her in. It’s not saying much because it’s not that old, but I am a fan of hers in Logan Lucky, and Alien: Covenant. She was a delight in this movie and did very well with the limited screen time she had.
I think I actually liked this movie more the first time I watched it than I did revisiting it this time around. I think that it really falls victim to being more of a writing piece of three scenes than actually telling a compelling story that gives us insight into the actual person Steve Jobs was. I was overall disappointed with the story, but very impressed with the performances. I would recommend this for any fans of Sorkin, but it’s hard to recommend it to a casual viewer. I haven’t seen the other movie Jobs, but when I do I’ll have to decide which one may be the better general audience choice.