For Reel

Steve Jobs (2015)
November 14, 2015, 9:00 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Danny Boyle
3 Stars
Steve JobsThe latest attempt to unmask the enigmatic man in the black turtleneck plays like a continuation of last year’s Birdman. As that film did, much of the drama in Steve Jobs unfolds backstage as characters from the protagonist’s life circle around him in a parade of bubbling old resentments, betrayals, and the occasional moralizing diatribes. Aaron Sorkin’s tidy three-act structure focuses on product launches in 1984, 1988, and 1988, and with his toothless approach and the increasing sense that Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) is a man who can redeem himself by simply reconnecting with his daughter, the film feels a bit Dickensian, as if Jobs’ past, present, and future collide as a means of helping him adjust his priorities before his death. If the structure is inspired, it largely goes nowhere and begins to feel repetitive. Sorkin’s screenplay provides the expected witticisms, but without the harshness of The Social Network. Jobs is wrought as a control freak with adoptive issues and the dialogue does little but rehash the point over and over until a shockingly sentimental conclusion. Director Danny Boyle attempts to combat the specificity of Sorkin’s voice with his own gimmicky directorial touches that are to the film’s detriment–a projection of Skylab on a wall distracts rather than reinforces, and a mid-point confrontation between Jobs and Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) is rendered as an operatic montage, with the over-directed aesthetic suggesting an importance or emotional resonance that the sequence doesn’t otherwise achieve.

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