There’s an interesting idea behind the way that Steve Jobs is structured, a movie mainly centered around events behind-the-scenes in three different eras of Steve Jobs’ life and career, but an idea and the end result of an idea are two different things entirely.
The beating heart of Steve Jobs is the relationship with Jobs’ daughter, and it’s his scenes struggling to even recognize the fact that he is a father and seeing the looks of love, irritation and a sense of feeling something underneath his cold exterior is when the movie truly shines. However, these moments are few and far between. Much of the movie concerns lengthy diatribes filled with technical jargon that, after awhile, came across like white noise, and that may’ve been the point. It’s an interesting way to put things into perspective, but an enjoyable experience that flows well? I think not.
The film’s screenplay, written by Aaron Sorkin, is typical Sorkin. Dialogue-heavy, loud speeches, all things one who has paid attention to his career have come to expect, yet this time, because of the narrowness of the space the film takes place in, it makes the entire film feel a tad bit contrived. Danny Boyle’s direction is decent, but not one that I would consider Oscar-worthy, the film’s aesthetic is bland, some of the tracking shots are excellent, though I think this has caused some critics to compare this film to Birdman and in my opinion, this is nowhere near the film Birdman is. It’s not even close.
What ultimately anchors Steve Jobs is Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet’s performances. They both are just outstanding and they deserve nominations for their performances, nominations that I’m sure they will get. Fassbender shows the anger, the egomanical, dead-eyed ambition and the eventual softer side that emerges with with the passage of time along with lengthy monologues that pepper the entire film. Kate Winslet, while definitely in a supporting role, steals many scenes with her delivery of some of the witty dialogue she’s been given and the care that Winslet’s, Joanna, has for Jobs and his daughter. Winslet has been absent in a sea of forgettable films like Labor Day and A Little Chaos since her Oscar win for The Reader, so it will be nice to see her make a bit of a comeback with the Academy, though I don’t see a win, for either of them.
This is a film that I can respect and appreciate pieces of, but the movie just didn’t work as whole for me. It’s first two acts are somewhat cold and distant and the ending is one that’s completely undeserved. The last five minutes undercut the film that came before it. I understand what they were going for but it just didn’t mesh with the rest of the film, so much so, that I wish this portion had been done in a subtle way, or re-written, because it’s a terribly flawed ending to a movie that deserved a bit more.