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Steve Jobs

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Ego. All-encompassing, unadulterated, unstoppable ego. Such is the driving force behind the titular Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) in Danny Boyle’s electrifying dramatization of the late Apple CEO’s life. I say dramatization because to call Steve Jobs a biopic would be a mischaracterisation. While it features Jobs and various other “real” people, including Jobs’ closest friend and marketing coordinator Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), former design partner Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) and father figure John Sculley (Jeff Daniels), Steve Jobs does not depict the man from adoption to death, nor even portray many events from his life. Instead, Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin depict the moments before three product launches, from 1984, 1988 and 1998 respectively. Never does the viewer see the launches themselves – the narrative is the backstage drama as various people come to speak to Jobs about design, marketing, technical difficulties, family, money, all of which Jobs subsumes within his overpowering ego. In this way, Steve Jobs echoes Sorkin’s previous screenplay about an IT entrepreneur, The Social Network. Like Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) in the earlier film, Jobs is frequently unsympathetic but never less than compelling. Also like The Social Network, Steve Jobs cuts abruptly between time periods – sudden flashbacks interrupt the flow of scenes and conversations, giving us glimpses of how Jobs set up his products, plans and people. Boyle is on typically vibrant form, with a discordant editing rhythm that sometimes jars simple narrative flow, while surreal distortions of the mise-en-scene project Jobs’ words and thoughts onto walls and floors. Yet throughout all this, Jobs remains beguilingly inscrutable, as contradictory as the development of the products that he controversially takes credit for. Steve Jobs is unlikely to give the viewer information that could not be learnt (appropriately enough) from the Internet, but it is an enthralling and dynamic portrayal of a vigorous and fascinating ego.

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