Steve Jobs ★★★

Roger Ebert's opening thoughts in his review for The Master perfectly describes my feelings towards Steve Jobs. "[The Master] is fabulously well-acted and crafted, but when I reach for it, my hand closes on air." Steve Jobs is so chalked full of talent in every department that it saddens me that I left the film feeling rather empty. Its star is able to seamlessly transform into the Apple co-founder as the film continues to move forward, but the script somehow does the opposite by becoming less interesting and almost emotionally manipulative during its final act. There's so much to be stuck in awe about in the world surrounding Steve, yet it never felt like it was enough.

Sorkin's screenplay is a clever one, even if it doesn't reach its full potential. Steve Jobs takes place in three parts. Each forty minute long behind-the-scene looks of the next "innovative" product launch from Jobs (Michael Fassbender), himself. The Macintosh in 1984, The NeXT Cube in 1988, and the iMac in 1998. Within these timelines the film also explores Jobs' relationship with Apple and his own daughter who he has refused to acknowledge for a good portion of her life. If we can learn anything from Aaron Sorkin he has a great interest for the smartest, yet stubborn (putting that extremely nicely) marketers. Jobs was clearly a brilliant man and his passion for marketing put the film at its highest, but the film never gave the right amount of balance to his marketing skills as well as his relationships. At least after the first act. The preparation for the launch of the Macintosh couldn't have been better, except if it was done in one shot. It shares the same kinetic energy as Birdman and I can't give praise any higher than that. It has the perfect mix of Steve's relationships with marketing, Apple, and his daughter. The second act takes aback with the marketing and amps up the other two relationships, but this time around nothing felt very urgent despite an extremely interesting stylistic argument between Jobs and John Sculley (Jeff Daniels). The third act is where the entire film takes aback. Steve's relationship with his daughter felt numbing this time around and it ends on a way too uplifting note, accompanied by some terrible music, which felt like a cheap way to wrap it up. While the film did become less interesting as it went on surprisingly it was able to keep on with the energetic pacing. It goes by like a whip, but you're still able to remember scenes well. You're just not able to feel anything towards the end.

Aside from the ending, Boyle's direction is some of his most exuberant. He has so much freedom and he takes it all in. This film is as much his as it is Fassbender's, the best of the best up-and-coming actors of recent years. He looks more like Steve Jobs in his older years than he has any right to. The confidence and anger in his voice can light up a room. Kate Winslet is the warmth of the film with her luminous work as Steve's assistant, Joanna Hoffman. Seth Rogen plays Apple co-founder Steve Woz and while he is really good here, especially in the second act, by the third act I was tired of hearing him and Steve going at one another. There are some great lines there, but at the same time I wanted something a bit different between the two of them by then. Jeff Daniels, as Apple CEO John Sculley, continues to be one of the best voices for a character written by Aaron Sorkin. That voice of his is the perfect competitor to go up against Fassbender's.

This won't be the last time I see Steve Jobs. I really want to love this one, but for the time being it's more than the title that falls rather flat. The perfection of the first act isn't enough to make up for the inconsistencies in the other two, but it certainly doesn't take away from all the brilliant actors. This film is all worth seeing for them as well as a couple great lines from Sorkin not used in the trailer. While Steve Jobs never runs out of energy it certainly could've been a little heavier on the meat in the more interesting layers of Steve's relationships.

“If a fire causes a stampede to the unmarked exits, it'll have been well worth it for those who survive.”

Alex_L liked these reviews