4 stars
Steve Jobs: visionary genius or psychopath?
Probably both according to this enthralling if exhausting biopic from Danny Boyle (127 Hours). Written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network and TV’s West Wing), it sets a rattling pace with signature, dialogue-heavy and emotionally explosive scenes, each capturing pivotal moments in Jobs’ life.

Although a conventional three-act film, Steve Jobs is far from being a conventional biopic. For the most part, each distinct scene takes place behind the curtain of a new product launch – the Apple Macintosh, the NeXt PC and the iMac G3. Boyle leverages the heightened theatricality of these occasions, and the hysteria of the Apple fan-base, to capitalise on the religious fervour granted the computing god.

Sorkin then adds layers and layers of intrusive personal and professional relationships to tease out the emotional complexity of Jobs life: the love-hate affair with colleagues, friends and family as he tries to achieve in real life what he achieved with Apple – a world that’s closed, end to end.

Following Alex Gibney’s documentary, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine and Ashton Kutcher’s forgettable Jobs, this is the most audacious attempt to get to grips with a man who, since his death, has slipped into mythology. How successful that has been can only be judged by those who knew him well, and if this is anything to go by, they were preciously few.

Notable were his devoted Head of Marketing, Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslett - The Dressmaker), co-founder Steve Woznaik (Seth Rogan - Bad Neighbours) and Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels - Good Night and Good Luck). All performances are strong, but it’s Winslett and Miachel Fassender (Macbeth) as Jobs who, rightly, anchor the film. Together they’re mesmerising and perfectly capture the sensational bravado that Apple came to symbolise (after all, here was a company that convinced its customers they could be unique through purchasing identical products).

Steve Jobs is a stylistic departure for Boyle who tones down his familiar visual assault to let Sorkin set (an often astonishing) pace and rhythm. There remains the occasional flourish that Boyle uses to punctuate the film’s concerns, namely, how to connect with a man who was, and always will be, a cypher. A man who more than any other has reshaped the way we connect with each other through the technology he gave us. Steve Jobs is an intimate yet formal experience akin to connecting with someone through a computer screen.


Previewed at Event Theatres, George St, Sydney, on 20 January 2016

Michael Fassbender
Kate Winslett
Seth Rogan
Jeff Daniels

Danny Boyle

Aaron Sorkin



122 minutes

February 4, 2016
Steve Jobs (2015) on IMDb
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