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 a portrait of the man, his estranged family and staff at its epicenter.
I honestly can't start this review without saying this easily ties with my favorite movie of the year, The Gift, for quite a few reasons. Truth be told this movie has everything needed to build a classic and uses it remarkably.
Writer Aaron Sorkin has quite a few gems in his filmography which include Money Ball, Social Network and A Few Good Men. He is as versatile as he is brutal in honesty. He works wonders in this movie revealing the man behind the machine rather than the machine behind the man. Without any scenes of failure or success, Sorkin forces his audience to understand the complex and often times revolting central Character. With extremely well written confrontations between Jobs and Wozniak or Jobs and his Daughter or even Jobs and his Boss, Sorkin relentlessly demonstrates the true nature behind the tech giant. Though this movie's central family tension and the Job vs. Apple drama are enthralling, Sorkin injects just enough dry and black comedy to keep the movie from becoming an influential figure's shaming. With that being said Sorkin also understands that the enormous ego of Steve Jobs had to be exposed as a vice and plays on that brutal fact perfectly. With 4 dimensional characters, great central dramas and pitch perfect comedy, this might actually be his best work yet.
Accompanying the stellar writing was Danny Boyle's beautiful direction. Through seemingly unending shots and aggressive movements the audience genuinely feels like their in Job's presence which can be very hard to sit through at times but is ultimately rewarding experience. With visible passion from Boyle, this is one powerful ride.
To my common readers I mentioned a few weeks back that Black Mass had the greatest ensemble cast of the year, I was wrong. This movies cast never really stops acting to the point of absolute realism. To start Kate Winslet portrayal of real life Johanna Hoffman was as beautiful as it was naive. She brought the character alive in full force and truly demonstrated she is one of the best actresses working. I smell a nomination coming her way. I had referenced Jeff Daniel's acting last week in The Martian, well he completely out did himself. He was tender at times and shark-like in others. He drew the line between intelligence and decency and walks this tight rope carefully. Five year old Mekenzie Moss also offers an absolutely astounding performance, uttering few but heart wrenching words. Michael Stuhlbarg works wonder as well on a albeit smaller degree.
Now onto the two heavy hitters. A surprise to me and my theater alike, Seth Rogan gives the single best dramatic performance of his career. As Steve Wozniak, the literal opposite of Jobs, Rogan played the role with elegance and brilliance and I wouldn't even mind the Benicio snub if Rogen won the statue. The role demanded a sweet, naive, caring and ultimately explosive performance and Rogan more than delivered making the scenes of abrasion between him and Fassbender iconic.
I have been holding off that name for the entire review because Micheal Fassbender is the only thing keeping this movie from failing. He dawns the character in such a way, I can only compare it to Jake Gyllenhaal from Night Crawler and even then I don't think I could fully describe it. Filled to the brim with nuance Fassbender offers a cold, intelligent, manipulative, calculating, and over all disturbingly realistic portrayal of Steve Jobs. I really can't envision a better cast lead than him. As calm as he is diabolical, Fassbender plays this egotistical narcissist with such precision its close to horrifying to watch. Though calm through most of the movie Fassbender understands when to unleash the monster which lays in Jobs and is absolutely volcanic while doing so. Under all the deception, tyranny, and technological brilliance lays a purely adroit and masterful performance. Though Johnny Depp in Black Mass was great and Ian McClellan in Mr. Holmes was grand, neither of them embodied their characters much like Micheal Fassbender and it would be a shame and a disservice to cinema if he didn't with Best Actor. He has proved he is one of the best actors of the generation.
Steve Jobs was a privilege to see on the big screen and is so far tied with The Gift as my number one movie of the year. With Deft acting, exquisite direction, and powerful writing this movie is not far from a modern classic. Steve Jobs gets an A+.