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Steve Jobs: The man and his machines

Rather than present a comprehensive overview of the life of tech mogul Steve Jobs, the film Steve Jobs exists in the moment, in the scene, scene to scene. Aaron Sorkin’s dense, crackling screenplay has been conveyed by director Danny Boyle in operatic fashion and with a Shake spearean bent.

Michael Fassbender portrays the man behind the myth, and offers a scintillating portrayal of the driven, intense, manipulative Jobs. Christian Bale, Leonardo DiCaprio and even Tom Cruise were mentioned as being in the running for the role, but it’s hard to conceive of anyone better. Consuming nervous energy throughout, Fassbender doesn’t much resemble Jobs in the ‘70s scenes but looks – and sounds – astonishingly like him in the later ones.

Jeff Daniels, Seth Rogan, Katherine Waterston and especially Michael Stuhlbarg do nice work in orbit of Fassbender’s mercurial portrayal, but Kate Winslet (almost unrecognizable) dominates the supporting cast as Job’s loyal, long-suffering assistant Joanna Hoffman, who acts as both Jobs’ and the film’s conscience and voice of reason.

Although based on Walter Isaacson’s 2011 book, Steve Jobs veers toward the realm of historical speculation – although so much is known about Jobs that it’s a little difficult to deliver earth-shattering revelations. This is not a screen biography in the standard, accepted sense of the term. There is no mention of his wife Lauren Powell (who reportedly opposed this film being made), his quest for spiritual solace, or the pancreatic cancer that took his life in 2011.

The film illuminates Jobs’ personality within its specific context, and the highly theatrical approach works due to the swift, sweeping pace that Boyle maintains and Alwin H. Kuchler’s cinematography, which is constantly in motion and on the prowl.

Steve Jobs doesn’t glorify Steve Jobs, nor does it demonize him. It does, however, humanize him to considerable extent. Love him or hate him, he leaves behind a legacy few could ever dream of – and this film certainly respects that. !

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