The Haunting Humanity of Sorkin’s “Steve Jobs”
Wow, it is cold.
Oh my god, is that a line?
That is definitely a line.
Why did I wait so long to get here?
It is 11:30 at night and I am in the Broadway district in the heart of New York City. I took a dangerously late Uber to get here, but it was all worth it for this one shining moment in my life. I managed to score a somewhat pricey ticket to the New York Film Festival’s centre piece screening of one of my most anticipated movies of the year: Danny Boyle’s “Steve Jobs.”
Spoiler alert: Nothing about this experience disappointed me. (Well, except for the fact that the theater did not have Coke Zero on tap.)
The film itself is set up in what is essentially a three-act play. Each of the parts take place minutes before three important keynote conferences in Steve Job’s life: the unveiling of Macintosh, Job’s first conference with his new company NeXT after being fired from Apple and the introduction of the iMac.
I love unconventional narrative setups, and it was an especially interesting way to frame a movie such as this. And what better playground for one of my favorite screenwriters, Aaron Sorkin, to deliver his particular brand of crazy. Those familiar with Sorkin’s previous work, “The West Wing”, “The Social Network”, and “The Newsroom”among others, will know that he has a penchant for quick, razor sharp dialogue that is delivered as characters walk briskly around each scene. “Steve Jobs”is no different, as it wastes no time tossing the viewer into a rapid fire argument about whether or not the Macintosh will be able to say, “Hello”, at the press conference. Seriously, this movie treats the viewer like they are well versed in the history of these people and events. I had to sit up a little straighter in my seat as soon as I realized what the hell I was in for.
Some of you may recall the unfortunate other Steve Jobs film, “Jobs”, starring Ashton Kutcher in the titular role a few years ago. Rest assured, this is not that. (And everyone breathed a sigh of relief.) Where “Jobs”was an all out cookie cutter biopic, a terribly muddy one at that, this is far more honed and concerned with Steve Jobs as a person. Ashton Kutcher’s version of Steve Jobs was an actor trying to act, Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of Jobs made me actually think about him as a realized person.
This film is a character study into a highly divisive figure in the world of technology and business. Fassbender’s portrayal of Jobs is ruthless, sly, and full of passion as he swims through each scene cutting people down and using his so called “reality distortion field”to craft the world into his perfectly designed machine. Kate Winslet portrays Joanna Hoffman, one of the first members of the Macintosh team, and serves as the anchor to Job’s often brutal methods of dealing with situations and people.
At its core, however, the movie is a father-daughter tale. Jobs had a rocky relationship with his daughter Lisa, denying that he was himself the father early on in her life. Lisa is portrayed by three different actresses across the films fourteen year time span, each providing Jobs with an illusive mirror into his own inner demons.
“Steve Jobs”has continued to stay with me since I left the theater, more so than other movies I have seen recently. Everything about it, from Danny Boyle’s use of slanted camera angles to create a distorted sense of space, to the editing of past arguments between characters intercut during arguments presently being had on screen.
It is a brief, wordy, and intense glimpse into a small window of who Steve Jobs was a person, good and bad. It is a fascinating, haunting, and deeply human film about a flawed mans drive to create the things that he could not fix within himself. “Steve Jobs”seeks to find the relief that we all desire in life from our past failings and seemingly inadequate situations.
Regal Royal Park Stadium 16 on Newberry Road is having a free advanced screening of “Steve Jobs”on Monday, October 12 at 7:00 PM. I highly encourage everyone to try and attend, but make sure and show up early to get a seat.
Featured photo courtesy of: TheVerge