Film Review “Steve Jobs”

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First, the Recap:

Discoverer. Pioneer. Trailblazer. Groundbreaker. Agitator. Antagonist. Rebel. Father. With an almost inhuman, impassioned, driving work ethic and the attitude to match, Apple, Inc employee Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) stews backstage at the 1984 product launch for the Mac 128K Computer, the item to totally redefine and revolutionize the tech world as well as the arena of personal computing. In the midst of debating various aspects of the release with longtime marketing head Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) while trying to work out MAC performance kinks with his team leader Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg), Jobs faces yet another challenge in former girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterson) and the daughter he refuses to acknowledge, Lisa (Makenzie Moss). It’s a world he feels closing around him.

But navigating the troubled waters only continues to grow larger, as conflicts soon arise between Apple co-founder and designer Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), seeking to have the team behind the Apple II get recognition, despite Jobs’ adamant protestations.  Soon, Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) has Jobs ousted from Apple, bringing about the 1988 product launch of Jobs’ new effort, NeXT, all while attempting to spend more time with a now 9-year old Lisa (Ripley Sobo). With multiple failures, a fractured family, dislike from co-workers and friends, plus relentless efforts by Hoffman to make him truly see what he has become, 1998 brings about the key moments where all the strife and pain Jobs has faced finds healing, reward, and reconnection with 19-year old Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine).

Next, my Mind:

“Trainspotting” and “Slumdog Millionaire” director Danny Boyle has, in this reviewer’s opinion, outdone himself and delivers an unwavering tour-de-force on these key points in the life of one of the most hated and beloved men the contemporary tech world has ever known. Tenaciously and emotionally raw, the film’s pacing rifles the viewer through 2+ hours, showcasing the journey of a genius flaunting with madness. Deft cinematography and writing give us an insiders view via backstory flashbacks and the 3 cornerstone, albeit chaotic, launch points which define his career, all while illustrating how personal and professional battles plagued his every step.  This tension, heart-wrenching vulnerability, and dogged stubbornness is what gives the film its life, especially in the relationships Jobs had with Hoffman and Lisa.

Fassbender is nothing short of spectacular in lending his constantly changing, nuanced performance style to bring a character like Jobs to life. The raw passion he expresses in Jobs’ moments of rage and frustration to those few and far between moments where he then settles down to show Jobs’ possession of compassion and soul, especially again with Joanna and Lisa, is simply fantastic acting. The same can be said for Winslet, bringing to bear her powerfully emotive style in playing the persistently steadfast yet beleaguered Hoffman, who was the voice of reason for Jobs in his darkest times. The very strong supporting cast turns in wonderful performances as well, which only enhances the greater picture of the visionary  giant Jobs was.

With a potent finale, “Steve Jobs” leads us through a single person’s life work, putting focus on its highs and lows, and whether you loved or hated him, lets us truly see the world-changing heart behind a brilliant mind.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!



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