Steve Jobs
 
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Steve Jobs

It’s fitting, I suppose, that a movie about the complicated man behind Apple be complicated as well and, in that sense, this adventurous Danny Boyle/Aaron Sorkin spin succeeds. But, is that dazzle enough?

Using an unconventional and certainly theatrical conceit, Sorkin plots his story in three distinct acts, each set as Jobs is to unveil a revolutionary new product. The backstage dramas reveal his difficult relationships with his co-workers and family through the years and it’s a nifty trick. These “reveals” were, after all, the only real experiences most outsiders had with Jobs, as we’d watch him take to the stage and explain how he was going to change the world. Jamming the rest of his very difficult life into the minutes before he took to that stage is an appropriately inventive idea. But it doesn’t leave a lot of room and, by the omissions here, we lose a lot of what I can only assume were Jobs’ shades of grey, mixed in with those bright whites and very harsh blacks. Much is made of his initial refusal to admit fatherhood of a little girl. His relationships with his key associates and partners are no easier. All, at one point or another, tell Jobs that they love him, but it’s awfully hard to see why.

Michael Fassbender does as well as he can with this multifaceted genius, given a few breathless moments to share his vulnerabilities. Mostly, he gets to tear through Sorkin’s signature rat-a-tat dialogue, so dense at times, it feels as if he is competing with Jobs’ furious brilliance. The strongest moments of the film come when Jobs shares the scene with the people who got him to that stage. It’s a treat to watch Fassbender take on the consistently impressive Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, or Michael Stuhlbarg. And, for those who haven’t seen his more serious turns, the biggest surprise will come from Seth Rogen, who lands the greatest moral punch of all, as Jobs’ surrogate brother, partner Steve Wozniak.

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