Flawed and fascinating like its titular hero, Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs (A-) is a biopic film seeking a new form factor. Told in three critical flashpoints of the computer industry titan’s life – namely, his launch of the overhyped Apple Macintosh, of the failed NeXT computer and of the wildly popular iMac that ushered in a new digital renaissance – Boyle and auteur screenwriter Aaron Sorkin fashion the tale of a fabulist impresario windbag who surrounds himself with people who act as fun house mirrors and lenses into his control freak world and undeniable genius. Michael Fassbender is simply phenomenal in the demanding and often unlikable role, with Kate Winslet and Jeff Daniels providing bright but thankless support as workplace foils to Jobs’ most repellant qualities. By jettisoning linear storytelling and embracing backstage patter, tone poem and near-requiem, the film is sure to confound most in its viewing audience. The movie’s distancing subject matter and petulant protagonist are near certain to be off-putting to most. Boyle rarely hits a false note and makes superb points about man and machine. Like underappreciated works of Kubrick, this austere film is likely to be better received years from now. It is telling that the movie focuses more of Jobs as artist than scientist, with his meta-theatrical launches taking place in symphony halls and his maestro metaphors falling from the lips like sweet sonnets. As film, it’s a perplexing and quixotic gallery. Given the early box office returns, it’s a fever dream most viewers will save for home viewing; but it’s absorbing for sure and nearly as odd and inventive as the man who inspired it.
Related article: Learn PR tips inspired by Kate Winslet’s character on the Cookerly PR blog.