With such a slump in quality biopics these last few years, playing catch-up with all the ones that slipped by seems like a hellish, dull task. Steve Jobs, from the great Danny Boyle, brings us three different launches of the mighty titan conglomerate Apple. The “true story” of over twenty years of history, all condensed into a two-hour set that comes at its audiences thick and fast. Detailing the various successes and failures, the personal life of Jobs and his relationship with his daughter and colleagues, Steve Jobs looks to offer quite a lot in such a short amount of time. We stumble through these moments rather rapidly, enough to keep us moving, but not enough to keep us engaged.
Jobs himself is shown as a horrid man. A genius, yes, but the correlation between great minds and great people separates even further. Fassbender’s adaptation of the man that gave us the iPad, iPad 2, iPad Air, and iPad Pro is very solid. None of those are featured, but we do get some insight into how Jobs fell out of favour with Apple, and subsequently took over as CEO. It’s interesting, and we shouldn’t expect less from such a talented cast. Michael Stuhlbarg, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels make for grand additions to the various background rooms we find ourselves cramped in. Claustrophobic and a bit static at times, but it gets the job done.
Boyle’s direction takes us to uncharted ground. Not for biopics and their evolution as narrative pieces, but for how quickly we can rattle through information. We’re not given stringent narrative stylings that take us through the mundane days of Jobs and those around him, but are given fluttering examples of product launches. We’re given a scope of how Apple adapts as a company through three launches mired by stress and anxiety, not just from Jobs, but investors, collaborators and advisors. Flashbacks that are ever so brief, but used with real necessity. Cut and paste between the period Jobs finds himself in, we get a collage of content that links together fairly well. Is it the finest work Aaron Sorkin has put to film? Close. It manages to lose some of the cliché, but Jeff Daniels still makes his way onto the screen.
Solid, efficient, and a bit deceitful at times, Steve Jobs is a pretty good adaptation of the man himself and the company he had a hand in moulding. Rapid pacing to this one, Boyle and his cast work tirelessly to bring out the controversies and arguably the most interesting portion of Jobs’ life. Blurring the truth with that Hollywood smile, Steve Jobs is a solid bit of entertainment, but how much of it is actually true is distorted and never quite frees itself from the moments of fiction. A mixed bag of ideas, but with strong performances and undeniable value in its presentation and style to carry us across the finish line.