DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

STEVE JOBS (director: Danny Boyle; screenwriters: Aaron Sorkin/from the book by Walter Isaacson; cinematographer: Alwin Kuchler; editor: Elliot Graham; music:  Daniel Pemberton ; cast: Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Seth Rogen (Steven Wozniak), Kate Winslet (Joanna Hoffman), Jeff Daniels (John Sculley), Michael Stuhlbarg (Andy Hertzfeld), Sarah Snook (Andrea Cunningham), Katherin Waterston (Chrisann Brennan), Perla Haney-Jardine (Lisa Brennan-19),  Ripley Sobo (Lisa Brennan-9), Makenzie Moss  (Lisa Brennan-5); Runtime: 122; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Bernard Bellew, Bryan Zuriff, Eli Bush; Universal; 2015)

"Michael Fassbender brilliantly plays Steve Jobs."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire"/"Trance"/"127 Hours") superbly directs from a crisp ingenious script by Aaron Sorkin this revealing self-aggrandizing biopic about the fascinating complex techie genius Steve Jobs. The film was based on the book by Walter Isaacson. The movie plays as a backstage farce, as it centers around three of Job's iconic product launches, each delivered in a 40-minute segment and all the action takes place backstage as friends and foes visit the frantic Jobs. The initial 1984 one is for the Macintosh, the one in 1988 when Jobs was fired from Apple over the doomed NeXT computer, and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac launched at San Francisco's Davies Symphony Hall--with Jobs again in charge at Apple. What the pic clearly shows that for Jobs innovation and cruelty go together hand and hand. This film follows the 56-year-old Jobs' death in 2011 and the very good documentary by Alex Gibney -- “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine.”

Michael Fassbender brilliantly plays Steve Jobs as if he were a Shakespearean character. Jobs is the sometimes charming and too often unlikable, acerbic and volatile loose-cannon Apple co-founder and CEO, who acted like a monster with people who worked for him building personal computers. Jobs also created everything digital from music, animation (Pixar) and publishing to iPhones. His colleagues say that he was not an engineer or a designer, but like a good orchestra leader he could lead the orchestra to play beautiful music. The self-absorbed Jobs considered himself an artist, someone confidant his computers would change the world and the way we think.

In the opening launch, coming two-days after a game-changing Super Bowl ad, Jobs argues with longtime friend and Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak (Seth Rogen), berates  his voice demo creator Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) for not getting the computer to say "Hello" when clicked on, drives his loyal Polish-accented marketing chief Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet) crazy with impossible demands, and obsesses on how to deal with the Apple CEO, John Scully (Jeff Daniels). He hired the oily Scully to handle the Apple board he detested, but soon was fired by him when the Mac failed to generate sales. Also on hand for a brief but nasty visit is Chrisann Brennan (Katherin Waterston), the mother he impregnated with his now 5-year-old child Lisa (Makenzie Moss). She's the child he denies is his. Mom is on welfare and wants the multi-millionaire to cough up some dough so she can live decently with his daughter, as the court ordered child-support payments are insufficient.

The film is brilliantly structured, well-acted, has crackling dialogue and tells a riveting story about a great innovator who never got over that he was adopted and tried to keep everyone at a distance as he forged ahead to make his mark in the business and techie worlds.

REVIEWED ON 11/4/2015       GRADE: A-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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