By Armando Inquig
‘Steve Jobs’ depicts the man as a flawed yet brilliant innovator: a salesman who expects employees to meet his standards, and a creative and artistic mind obsessed with product design.
Starring Michael Fassbender as Jobs, the movie is structured like a three-act play. Each act focuses on a pivotal product launch: the Macintosh in 1984, the NeXT (also known as The Cube) in 1988, and the iMac in 1998. Each act is preceded by flashbacks or a series of TV and news montages.
Just before Jobs takes the stage for each product launch, he’s confronted by various figures from his past. These include his ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston), Lisa, a daughter he once denied was his, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Apple CEO John Scully who played a role in Jobs’s dismissal, and original Mac team member Andy Hertzfeld. Through these interactions, his exasperated marketing executive Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) consistently supports him, striving to maintain focus amidst the distractions that always seem to surface at the most inopportune moments.
While the film’s structure offers an intriguing approach, it leaves the characterization of the title character feeling unsatisfying and inconsistent. The movie doesn’t delve deeply into his history as an adopted child, omits key aspects of his professional relationship with Wozniak, and the reference to the invention of the iPad—shown as Jobs reacts to his daughter’s use of a portable cassette player—comes off as forced. Given the numerous recent portrayals of Jobs, this film fails to provide fresh insight.
The movie reaches its pinnacle in the third act, set in 1998 before the iMac launch, as Jobs reconciles with his daughter. Here, Fassbender truly captures the essence of Jobs, closely resembling the tech icon’s familiar image. This segment is a pleasure to watch.
Aaron Sorkin’s script provides a riveting, humorous, and captivating glimpse behind the scenes of Steve Jobs during pivotal product launches. However, it doesn’t match the depth, purpose, or impact of his work on ‘The Social Network’.