Unpopped Kernels: Steve Jobs (2015)

Every once in a while, a good movie fails. It absolutely hurts to see money poured into a defunct and defective movie series rather than an original film but you can’t blame the public for their trepidation or choices; we all are at the mercy of marketing and, simply, our own tastes. For Steve Jobs, there are many reasons why it hasn’t pulled in the cliental it was expecting. As you leave your screening breathless, heart-racing, and covered in this sweat only good art can create, there is a sense that, whilst wrong, the campaign just didn’t reach the people it needed to; dustily damning it to the VOD audience that’ll hopefully secure it for years to come.

It’s a shame because, as mentioned, Steve Jobs absolutely deserves future successes.

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For those who do not know the plot, I’ll keep it brief – Steve Jobs revolves around Apple’s acclaimed leader and the three key points that solidified him into the history books – the Mackintosh, the NEXT. and the iMac. However, as he battles an ex-lover and his illegitimate daughter as well as those he has burnt in order to become successful, Jobs faces more enemies than just the market as he orchestrates the biggest technological breakthrough of our time…

Running away in from the cliché of biopics, a fact that you’ll happily relish from the first impact of dialogue, Andy Sorkin’s words set an excellent foundation for a succinct yet enthralling movie. The discourse is thick, heavy, and may seem crassly dull for those off put by wordy drama (which, let’s face it, is all of us at one time or another.) Yet Sorkin’s enthralling screenplay allows you to dabble in all of these characters in a chess game of tech-savvy people hoping to illuminate the world. Rhythmical in execution and uncondescending to those without a brain cell wired into a computer mainframe, Steve Jobs rolls almost like an amazing song and is heightened by palpable sentiments and events.

At the time (because, let’s face it, this year has been terrible for Fassy’s cinematic choices,) Michael Fassbender was truly having a year of great cinematic choices. Between this, his stunning portrayal of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and the arguably underrated Slow West, Fassbender was producing some of the most visceral and poignant work with such a ferociousness that his only peer is his X-Men co-star James McAvoy and I’d happily champion a two-man drama with them at the core of it. Fassbender, though looks wise is strikingly unlike Jobs, captures a man on a mission – to be successful and clearly Jobs is unafraid to wield a scythe to reap the rewards of other people’s labours. In his Jobs, though the makings of a remarkable man is there, Fassbender implements an unappealing genius who can set the world alight but burn all those around him. It’s no easy feat to perform as an iconic man without making him either God-like or a demon – yet Fassbender claws into the roots of Jobs and weaves a rather human portrait of a man pirouetting between both paths. Just watching Fassbender paint the quirks and mannerisms of Jobs takes you into this enigmatic character and, whether it is anger or joy, allows you to feel the most of that particular emotion. Alongside him Kate Winslet and Seth Rogan, as the Queen and Rook of Jobs’ game, serve glorious purpose at fleshing out the meat of a poetic biopic.

As Jobs utters in the film, “I am the man who controls the orchestra,” and, indeed here, Danny Boyle is hones in the musical elements that ensnares you into a world of drama, ambition, and somewhat damnation. Utilising some exquisite camera positions that echo his distinctive style yet frame the story in such an emotive stage-like way, Boyle crafts a film here of true wonderment that cases a man driven by his determination as though we peaked behind the curtains of his play.

There is one scene here that is so glorious in juxtaposition between past and present, scored by the utmost eloquent classic music, and speared ferociously by the chemistry between Jeff Daniels’ and Michael Fassbender. Terrific in its terseness, bating speech, and the movement between time periods, Boyle masterfully flicks that direction wand and allows all the pieces to merrily play along with a deep angered drum beat and an emotion bassline. Boyle’s work lately hasn’t received widespread acclaim but there is no denying that the blood he bleeds into his films enriches the industry.

If I wasn’t so in love with Macbeth – which, not erroneously, also stars Fassbender, then I’d happily declare Steve Jobs as the movie of 2015; strange because it’s not the type of film I’d warm to in such a manner. Yet when you look at the intricacies of script, acting, and direction that dare to push the boundaries of biopics and even filmmaking – something that would make Jobs proud, I’m sure – then you can’t help but feast bountiful in the impeccable product Boyle and his team have presented here. One could argue that the three act structure could be easily transferable to the stage and the sense of pure thespian direction that is teamed with the urge to pull an audience into the character foremost is easily the best cinematic product to come out of this year’s overzealous gifts.

Much like Jobs’ personal projects, it is understandable why audiences haven’t flocked and it has been a financial failure. Perhaps the thoughts of Ashton Kutcher still sit on our minds, or Steve Jobs, the man, is such a precious commodity who changed the world of technology that to scorn his personal character seems abhorrent following his death. Yet, with all this in mind, the fury of Fassbender’s performance, the seductive nature of Sorkin’s script, and the innovation of Boyle’s direction just amounts to an unimpeachable biopic that’ll haunt you as you thumb the latest Apple product.

Steve Jobs is available on Netflix now! 

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