Review of 'Steve Jobs'

steve_jobs.jpg This is the story of Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) and his involvement in the creation and rise of Apple Computers from it's humble beginnings in his parent's garage where he and Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad) along with a small team of engineers build for the first Apple computer up until the release of the iPod. We see his life presented here at the release of three key products: Apple MacIntosh in 1984 (having been removed by the board from working on the Apple Lisa), the Next Computer in 1988 and the iMac in 1998. He is the visionary that drives the company's products forward but it is largely this which puts him at odds when Apple goes public with the board of directors who are concerned more with profitability than his vision. To make the shareholders happy Jobs is forced to leave the company only to return later when they realize it is he that is the heart of the company and it's success.

Jobs' personal life is largely unexplored except for his denial of the parentage of Lisa Brennan (Annika Bertea) despite the fact the courts deem her to be his daughter. It seems his denial is to spite Lisa's mother, Chrisann Brennan (Ahna O'Reilly), who appears to Jobs to have her own interests and not Lisa's in mind. Little regard to emotions seems to be one theme the director returns to again and again in the film.

A fascinating insight into Steve Jobs. I enjoyed learning about the origins and context of the products presented having grown up with them as they were released. The movie focuses on Jobs' involvement with Apple and it's products but it is here where the movie ends with little presented of his life outside of Apple. The director, Danny Boyle, has made no secret of the fact that he did not wish to delve into Jobs' personal life and I think that it is this that takes a bit of the soul away from this film. Boyle has also made it clear he was making a drama and not a documentary but even so it is hard to understand where drama ends and the facts begin. We certainly see the passion and drive of Jobs but his motivations are unexplored making him, at the end of the movie, somewhat an enigma. Perhaps it could be said that in reality the man was an enigma anyway with the film merely reflecting this? Jobs here is completely focused on the products of Apple to the expense of his personal life and any of his friends (as witnessed by the dramatic and emotional departure of Wozniak). Intriguing here for me is the portrayal of a man who seems amazed at what has happened to the company he has created and a fish out of water when it comes to board machinations but a quick learner with revenge when given the opportunity. Though it is this revenge that is framed as Jobs removing any impediments to him achieving his goals without any emotional considerations that are obviously present.

I learned a lot from this movie and it makes me want to learn more by reading his biography by Walter Isaacson that I have sitting on the shelf. I found this film quite mechanical in seeming to present largely the facts with little regard to any understanding of their basis.

This film is NOT to be confused with the 2015 “Steve Jobs” movie starring “Michael Fassbender” (yeah, I didn't know either).

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2015-11-28

Directed by: Joshua Michael Stern

Studio: Open Road Films (II)

Year: 2013

Length: 128 minutes

Genre: Melodrama