*NOTE: As you can tell, this was previously written before the 2016 Oscars took place. Unfortunately it did not win. Darn.*
Yes, you Hollywood!
Stop whatever factory driven, teen book adaptation, superhero fighting piece you’re working on right now and grab a pen and a notebook and write the following down…
Steve Jobs is your Oscar winner of 2016. FACT.
On the surface Jobs has the pedigree of the exact ingredient that attracts Hollywood to their Oscar nominations. It has an all-star cast, a top director on even better form than his dazzlingly reputation and lets not leave out he fact that it’s a biopic inspired by a world defying person who died way too young. We all now how much the Oscars love a good biopic.
Steve Jobs is a thrilling and engaging 2 hour experience, which may sound a little bizarre being a film based on a man who made computers. When you think ‘epic’ biopic movies, the usual template often involves a roller-coaster ride from the person’s youth, teens, their college idea that becomes a huge hit, the troubles that come with that amazing idea and then how the person came out of the other side and changed many lives along the way. Steve Jobs emulates some of these methods but does it in a way that is truly unique and in a very Danny Boyle kind of way.
The film is divided into three acts, focusing on the backstage drama moments before Jobs (Michael Fassbender) is to release his next industry changing invention. The film opens during 1984, when Jobs is set to unveil the Macintosh, wanting to challenge the supremacy of the PC. The night is anything but celebratory behind-the-scenes for Jobs, as the big announcement is getting overshadowed by a damaged ex, a child that he refuses to believe is his, and a malfunctioning computer that doesn’t want to say hello (this is a much bigger problem than you may be imagining right now).
Boyle does a great job in telling Jobs’ life through the introduction of each character without necessarily telling us the exact details of how things have got this way in each of his relationships with these characters. When we are introduced to flashbacks, cuts between the present conversation and scenes from the past are done masterfully, which elevates the drama to heights of moments where you realised you haven’t blinked for several minutes, as you do not want to miss any intriguing detail.
The pattern is repeated as we enter 1988, as Jobs prepares to launch his destined-to-fail NeXT system, plotting his revenge all the while continuing his role as unexpected father. Fast forward to 1998 and he’s ready to change the world with the introduction of the Apple iMac. The closing moments are arguably the best in the film, leading him to point to his daughters chunky Walkman stating, “We’re going to put 500 tunes in your pocket.”
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin impresses with the emotionally charged dialogue that is brought to even hard hitting effect by Fassbender and the stunningly constructed cast that consists of Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels. The film is also heavily influenced by Walter Isaacson’s biography, opening a more personal take on Steve Jobs who is a man who had always mastered in what the people want more than the connection between him and others on a personal level.
Jeff Daniel’s as John Sculley, Apple CEO and ultimate betrayer, plays the role well as even after the unveil of his true intentions we still don’t feel completely convinced that he is an evil person with evil intentions. There is not one flawed performance within the entire cast. Kate Winslet excels in the down right peculiar relationship she hold as marketing-guru Joanna Hoffman and Seth Rogan makes a perfectly good Steve Wozniak, Apple’s co-founder and a man who deep down is only after the recognition he deserves. The best way to sum up their relationship is a perfectly written line by Sorkin where Rogen belts “I’m tired of being Ringo, when I know I’m John”.
The film is delightfully more amusing than expected, and doesn’t shy away from the heavy drama to counterpart. Fassbender, Winslet, Sorkin and Boyle can all expect Oscar nominations and quite frankly there will be no surprise if either one of them walked home holding the golden statue.