• James Rutherford

'Steve Jobs': A Bold and Viscerally Compelling Depiction of the Preeminent Tech Pioneer


Movie poster for Steve Jobs (2015)

Steve Jobs (2015) is a bold and highly dynamic depiction of Apple Computers' titular co-founder and CEO, with Michael Fassbender portraying Jobs over the course of three historic product launches spanning 14 years (1984–1998).


Beginning in 1984, the storyline opens with Jobs and his colleagues preparing to unveil the Apple Macintosh 128K. As the system's voice demo fails and Jobs castigates lead engineer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg), he's further befuddled by the arrival of ex-girlfriend Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston) and her daughter Lisa (Makenzie Moss)—who Jobs denies fathering out of wedlock.


Shifting to 1986, in the aftermath of his departure from Apple, Jobs is now preparing for the launch of the NeXT Computer System. With 9 year-old Lisa (Ripley Sobo) at his side, Jobs is visited by both Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) and Apple board Chair John Sulley (Jeff Daniels)—where in flashback we witness the bitter struggle that lead to the board's dismissal of Jobs from his own enterprise.


Concluding in 1998, the narrative finds Jobs reinstated as Apple's CEO as he leads his crew in preparation for the iMac's historic unveiling. Jobs is delighted by promising forecast data from marketing executive Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) yet furious at Brennan for decisions affecting now 19 year-old Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine)—the burgeoning reconciliation with his daughter providing the emotional capstone for this depiction of Jobs' rollercoaster career.


Adapted by Aaron Sorkin from Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs and directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire), Steve Jobs is a spirited illustration of a high-profile titan's complex personal and professional affairs. Fassbender delivers an extraordinary impression of the enigmatic Jobs in all his inherent complexity, while the supporting cast is rife with supporting performances of unusual grace and nuance. Fast-paced and eminently absorbing, it's a spirited menagerie of Isaacson's research, Sorkin's words, cinematographer Alwin Küchler's dazzling cinematography and Boyle's ever-reliable work from the director's chair.

 

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