Two years after the Ashton Kutcher take on the same story, Danny Boyle takes the director’s chair and casts Michael Fassbender to try and outdo Kutcher’s amazing performance as the man who created Apple. If the 2013 film epitomises the Apple logo, the 2015 pic is the chunk of apple missing. Stylistically, the film is very impressive and visually it looks good but only showing a snapshot of Steve Job’s life compared to showing his whole career ultimately makes it feel like a film lacking a cohesive story.
Painting a raw picture of the man loathed by many but undeniably brilliant in bringing the innovative Apple products to market, Steve Jobs is the story of Steve Jobs himself (Michael Fassbender) who prepares for the unveiling of Apple products backstage at three different arenas. The film eventually ends with the unveiling of the iMac in 1998 to a massive auditorium full of eager Apple fans. This intimate set up lends itself well to Fassbender’s excellent performance where he nails the ruthless indifference Steve Jobs had toward others and his passion for the technology he helps to innovate. With the focus solely on Jobs, he steals the show with a breathtaking performance from start to finish.
Of course, this film was always going to be compared to Jobs, the 2013 film that handled the same biopic from a different angle and in many ways, tells a more cohesive story to show how Steve Jobs started, got into making the computers and his rise and fall as head of the company. Here however, the film doesn’t tackle any of that and instead focuses predominantly on building the characters with long, drawn out scenes for dramatic measure. Its not bad of course and the editing lends itself well to a heightened pace and sense of urgency throughout as the camera follows Jobs as he hurries around backstage talking to the influential people in his life including his assistant Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogan) and chief executive of Apple, John Sculley (Jeff Daniels).
Danny Boyle does do a good job as Director, moving the film along at a steady pace with flashbacks spaced out throughout to break up the monotony of predominantly one or two set designs backstage at each of the shows. Although the film never quite feels as intimately connected to the character as the previous Steve Jobs biopic did, the film is cut in an interesting way. At times the film feel a bit like an Apple product – stylish for the sake of it with a tendency to show off while defiantly ignoring reason. Danny Boyle’s biopic is one that hones in on the immediacy of the here and now, with an emphasis on its four key characters while showing the darker side to Steve Job’s persona. He nails the ruthlessness of the character with just a tiny shred of humanity behind the cold, emotionless eyes but in focusing on one key part of Job’s life, it misses out key parts of his life that shape him into the person he becomes and why he’s that way that the Ashton Kutcher film explored.
There’s no denying that Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs biopic doesn’t compete with the 2013 effort under the name Jobs. With the exception of Michael Fassbender and a stylistically impressive picture, Steve Jobs is ultimately lacking in comparison to Ashton Kutcher’s 2013 pic. Its not a complete misfire and there are moments that really stand out beyond Steve Jobs himself but it feels second best to the previous picture that does a better job of painting the life of the creator of Apple.