Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by Arron Sorkin
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogan, and Jeff Daniels
Steve Jobs is not a traditional biopic; the film does not cover the entire life of the subject (in this case Jobs), but rather focuses on three critical points in the life and career of Steve Jobs, the launches of the Macintosh, the NeXT Box, and the iMac. One led to Jobs leaving Apple, the next led to Jobs’ return to Apple, the last saved Apple following the return of Jobs. Sorkin structuring his script in this way was clever because Steve Jobs has three distinct and separate acts. While most films have the three-act structure, the acts in Steve Jobs have clearly defined beginnings and endings. The rest of the script is classic Sorkin, fast, sharp, and witty.
Boyle’s direction was excellent, although he was able to create a fascinating character study of Jobs and coax fantastic performances from the entire cast, especially Fassbender, Daniels, and Rogan. Boyle could not get the stuff between Jobs and his daughter to work. Most of the time it felt out of place in the movie, but when it did work, it fully fleshed out the character of Jobs that Boyle and Sorkin were trying to capture.
There is one reason Steve Jobs is a five-star film, and that is a scene in the second act of the movie. The scene between Fassbender and Daniels depicting the ousting of Jobs from Apple in 1985, this scene is the kind of scene that wins Oscars. It wins Oscars for Fassbender and Daniels for their brilliant performances in the scene. It wins one for Boyle for how he expertly cuts between the present and their discussion of the event, and flashbacks to the event itself. It wins one for Sorkin for his clever scripting of the scene. This scene is the perfect example of how the actors, the director, and the writer work together in creating a film.
Despite some of the daughter subplot feeling forced into the movie, Steve Jobs is an expertly crafted film and an excellent character study, though not a history lesson. Steve Jobs is one of the best movies of the year, and that scene in the second act is the finest filmmaking this year, save for maybe the last half hour of The Walk.