Saturday, 6 February 2016

A Job(s) Well Done

Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to a paint of the man at its epicentre. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac.

This movie establishes as the only Steve Jobs movie the broader public will really need or want to see, offering a richly unconventional take on the life of an American visionary. For those who believed that the late co-founder of Apple was both an iconic visionary and a monster with a stone where his heart should be, rest assured that writer, director and star Michael Fassbender have given their subject the brilliant, ingeniously designed and monstrously self aggrandising movie he deserves. The question this film answers is why? Why Steve Jobs is that way? Why he sees the world that way? Why does he do the things he does? And unfortunately we don't often get that sort of answers in movies. That is why this new take on Jobs' life is quite interesting. A smart film driven by dialogues and great moments that allow the actors to shine. 

In the first act alone, the film establishes core aspects of Jobs' personal and professional identity that will be further advanced and imaginatively set in the next two segments. Plus, the movie emotional core comes from Steve relationship and family life. Though sometimes the presence of ex and child Lisa seems pretty unrealistic and even forced. We witness firsthand his impossible perfectionism and refusal to take no for an answer. Jobs' gift for innovation was perhaps inextricable from his capacity for cruelty. The puppet master who kept all around him on strings. The impresario of a circus dedicated to the creation and dramatic unveiling of technological wonders that changed the world. More importantly, this film explores Steve Jobs and who he was as a person: it doesn't wildly explores his life but more his inner life. 

Moreover, hardly any of this would matter without a dynamic actor at the centre of things, nailing the part of Jobs. Michael Fassbender fully delivers the essentials of how we can perceive the man: intellectual brilliance, force of personality and power to inspire. Both Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio were once embarked for this role, but it's hard to imagine either of them matching Fassbender's capacity to engage and repel at the same time. He knows exactly how to toss the writer's dialogue and delivers a performance so deep that it's impossible to take your eyes off him. His onscreen presence at every minute makes it all the better. 

Danny Boyle wasn't an automatic fit for the material. However, it's his best film in years. Here he made a very straightforward movie, compared to his usual style he pulled back a little. One of the major positive part of this film is the choice Boyle made to film the first act of 1984, in 16 mm film and as time progresses to 1988, the second act is in 35 mm, to finally shot the last act of 1998 on digital so that it gives the movie a genuine tangible feeling of technological progression. The film's face is evolving with its products. The script is written by Aaron Sorkin who is in my opinion one of the best screenwriter of our time, he wrote The Social Network, A Few Good Men and created the series The Newsroom: this man is a genius regards to writing. Blowing away traditional storytelling conventions, Sorkin's screenplay has mastered the art of conveying a character's essence. Not by delivering the most comprehensive account possible (Pixar, Xerox and cancer are just topics that go unmentioned), but by compressing the most relevant topics into one significant time frame. Rather three time frames, each one centred around the public launch of a Jobs-created product that would change the course of his career and thus the course of global technology. 

Overall, Steve Jobs has a boldly theatrical three act-structure, tightly choreographed narratives and visually clean lines. The dominance of Aaron Sorkin's script and focus on business mean this film will mostly appeal the Apple geek. Filled with amazing performances for a dialogue driven film, this film is the perfect synthesis of writing, performance and direction.

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