Synopsis: Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with
the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the
digital revolution to paint an intimate portrait of the brilliant man at
its epicenter.— (C) Universal
Directed by Danny Boyle, the film hums with urgency, taking brief emotional detours in an attempt to crack Job’s efficient exterior, while Michael Fassbender validates his reputation for commitment to his performance, imbuing Jobs with a particular intensity and coldness that hardly wavers.
The screenplay, by Aaron Sorkin, adapts Walter Isaacson’s book, also titled Steve Jobs. Isaacson was selected personally by Jobs and allowed unfettered access to write an accurate and uncensored biography about him. Jobs declined final approval of the work before publishing, only requiring he be allowed to select the book’s cover photo. Steve Jobs, the film, feels very much true to that sentiment.
Fans of Sorkin can quickly identify his most popular works, including HBO’s Newsroom, Brad Pitt vehicle Moneyball, Facebook origin story The Social Network and of course, his most famous: The West Wing with Martin Sheen, and the Tom Cruise / Jack Nicholson courtroom slug-fest A Few Good Men, and there isn’t a moment in this characteristically dialogue heavy film that doesn’t radiate Sorkinism. If one were to distill the essence of Aaron Sorkin into a powder, and then Aaron Sorkin snorted that powder and wrote a script, Steve Jobs is what you’d get. It’s so Aaron Sorkin, Jeff Daniels is in it.
Why? It doesn’t matter. The point is, it’s hard to find director Danny Boyle’s fingerprints anywhere on it – at least at first glance. The dialogue is all Sorkin, the performance is all Fassbender. But at least the plotting, editing, visual and sound effects, and music all point to another hand on the wheel, even if the cruise control is set to Sorkin. What I’m saying is, the dialogue never stops, and you can’t help but identify the screenwriter, but once you inure yourself to its intensity, you can start to notice what’s going on in the background. The music usually highlights the action, sometimes counterpointing, and sometimes stops altogether for those most serious of serious moments. It feels unusual, but hard to define. And while tightly edited, Boyle takes moments just long enough for us to catch a breath. And occasionally, very occasionally, a little bit of visual effects are used to emphasize what’s going on in the mind of the genius we’re trying to understand.
One other element that’s particularly interesting is the cold open to a 40 year old, black and white Arthur C. Clarke interview in which he describes, in remarkably accurate detail, how computers will revolutionize the world. It’s fantastic, and sets us up for what’s going to happen over the next 2 hours.
Steve Jobs opens in previews tonight and tomorrow at theaters everywhere. Check out this trailer, which gives you a quick dose of the two hour frontal-lobe adrenaline rush that is Danny Boyle’s, I mean, Aaron Sorkin’s, Steve Jobs. Most trailers amp up their films, this one pretty accurately reflects it. Buckle up!