Opening with archival footage of Arthur C. Clarke predicting a computing revolution, Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs casts this utopian dream into sordid reality, as we follow the irascible Jobs (Fassbender) prior to the launch of the Macintosh (1984), the Black Cube (1988) and the iMac (1998). Unusually for a biopic, Aaron Sorkin’s brilliantly witty and quietly subversive script consists of only these three acts. And while the suits and haircuts change, the people around Jobs don’t, as he navigates fractious relationships with his faithful marketing manager Hoffman (Winslet), cofounder Wozniak, chief developer Hertzfeld, Apple CEO Sculley and daughter Lisa. It’s a clever device that builds an arc around Jobs’ story, coming reluctantly to terms with fatherhood and the flawed nature of people.
Boyle can’t resist a few distracting flourishes, projecting a space shuttle onto a wall or throwing quotations onto the stage curtain. Nevertheless, with yet another dazzling performance from Fassbender, Steve Jobs makes for an enjoyable metaphor for the film director – the orchestra conductor who leads his unruly team on to greater things. And also an affecting tribute to a brilliant man always wanting a bigger bite of the apple.
Steve Jobs | Directed by Danny Boyle (USA 2015) with Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels. Starts November 12
Originally published in issue #143, November 2015.