Talking movies, music and other close encounters of the social media kind.
The film ‘Steve Jobs’ certainly doesn’t back down from these personal traits that describe this modern day Leonardo Da Vinci of the digital age.
Michael Fassbender plays the role of Steve Jobs, and he totally immerses himself in it, playing both creative genius and complete asshole with absolute relish.
Directed by Danny Boyle of ‘Trainspotting’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ fame, and written by the great screenwriter Aaron Sorkin of ‘The West Wing’ &’The Social Network’ – this film-making dynamic duo take great creative license, and go against making a straight biopic of the founder of Apple. Instead, they go the complete opposite. Most of the events that take place in the movie are largely fictionalised – which has disappointed a lot of Jobs’ real-life colleagues who have criticised the film.
But after seeing the movie, I can clearly see the method-to-their-madness as to why they went down that way.
Because, how do you make a film about a man who makes nicely designed computers, well, exciting to watch on the big screen?
As Steve Jobs was the supreme innovator, so too does Aaron Sorkin innovate – with his screenplay. Cleverly structuring the movie like a three act stage play, and centering only on three specific events; the product launch presentations Steve Jobs made to introduce the Macintosh Computer in 1984, the NeXT Cube in 1988, and finally, the Apple iMac in 1998.
The drama is played out behind the scenes just before these product launches, in open auditoriums, backstage dressing rooms and empty corridors. In fact, the movie doesn’t even show the product launch presentations. Especially when the movie builds up the hype, with lingering shots of the crowd mexican-waving, and waiting in anticipation for Jobs to come out on stage to unleash his new product that will game-change planet Earth. Presenting the movie this way is a ballsy move by the film-makers. And it works. You can see the actual presentations on YouTube anyway.
By focussing more on Jobs’ actions and his state of mind before the product launches – you get a unique fly-on-the-wall view. Actually it’s more like a fly on a GoPro camera, as we see Jobs walking along from set to set and room to room – contending with faulty lighting systems onstage, faulty computer screens and berating nervous tech-people backstage. Plus, there’s also a matter of the ex-wife demanding him to help out with their daughter, whom he rejects, because he’s adamant that he’s not the biological father. And then there’s the other issue of his business partner and engineer who actually made the Apple computer, Steve Wozniak – wanting more recognition of his work (surprisingly played to perfection by comedian Seth Rogen), and then there’s his own CEO John Sculley – who lavishes Jobs’ with high praise but will hit him with a low blow later in the piece by kicking him out of his own company (played by the ever-reliable Jeff Daniels).
Through all this movement and mayhem, Kate Winslet is always there at Fassbenders’ side in her role as the supportive marketing executive, Joanna Hoffmann. She’s so good you don’t even know it’s actually Kate Winslet playing the part.
Danny Boyle does away with his trademark directorial stylistic flourishes -and lets the shots linger, letting the actors play it out on camera. This gives Sorkins’ razor-sharp and witty dialogue the necessary room to breathe and bite. And the actors get their teeth into it and tear it up, with wonderful scenes of dialogue and interplay between their characters.
No wonder Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet are Oscar nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress this year.
I also love how Boyle has used three different film formats to emphasize the look and feel of the three time periods; shooting in 15mm film for 1984, 35mm film for 1988, and digital for 1998.
For those who want a complete inside look into the life of Steve Jobs and how he came up with the ideas for his products, you’ll come out of the theatre disappointed. In fact you might come out disappointed anyway, because it’s definitely not a commercial film. This is a heavy-talking, heavy-dialogue driven piece. If you want action – go watch the Avengers.
I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
And, despite all the computer jargon and the corporate power-plays, at its’ very heart – the movie really is about a father and daughter coming to terms with the fact that they actually need each other.
As the final scene is played out, it’s here where a tightly reigned-in Danny Boyle finally lets loose. As Jobs apologises to his daughter before he goes on stage, admitting to her that he is “poorly made” and giving her an old drawing of the mac when she was little, he walks out in front of the cheering crowd, and as he’s about to unleash the Apple iMac onto the world, we hear the uplifting crescendo from the indie-rock group The Maccabees’ and their beautiful track ‘Grew Up At Midnight’. It’s a classic directed by Danny Boyle moment.
As the lights flash and flicker in and out from the stage, and themusic thunders above at a dizzying pace – we see his daughter, now reconciled with her famous father, watching on from the sideline, looking on in wonder and amazement.
That such a man who could connect the world to his products, and yet, could not connect with the people closest to him.
That last scene is brilliant.
Much like the whole film.
Love him or hate him, you certainly cannot deny the impact this one man has brought onto this planet.
As I write this blog entry on my Apple Mac Book Pro Laptop, listening to iTunes, charging up the iPad mini and iPod shuffle, and sending texts on my iPhone.