Sunday, October 25, 2015

Steve Jobs

Coming in to 2015, there were few (if any) films that I was looking forward to more than Steve Jobs. In fact, as soon as I learned that Aaron Sorkin was writing the film, it became my most anticipated in the near and distant future. I successfully avoided all other films about the late Jobs, wanting to go into this film fairly ignorant, because that is exactly how Sorkin would want it. As all of my readers know, Aaron Sorkin is my main man, and everything he touches is gold, as far as I am concerned. The film went through a few different casting issue and appeared to have some sort of turn off for many actors and directors, but, when you settle for Michael Fassbender and Danny Boyle, you're doing just fine. There is no doubt that Fassbender is a rising star, and Kate Winslet and Jeff Daniels always bring their best. So, with that said, my long term expectations for Steve Jobs never waned, making Thursday night one of my most exciting nights of 2015. 

To be honest, my memories of Steve Jobs were created during Jobs' days as a frail cancer victim. So, the character that Sorkin brought to life was certainly one with which I was quite unfamiliar. Unfortunately, I didn't quite think that the film did a god job of explaining Steve Jobs' passion (not obsession) and giving us some reason to cheer him on. The format was a bit formulaic, particularly considering how abrupt the moment of realization was, at the end of the film. While I was certainly entertained and enjoyed every second of the dialogue that Sorkin leant to the film, Steve Jobs just lacked the excitement that I expected from a story about such an intriguing man. Ultimately, the entire second act could have been pulled from the film and used as flashbacks. The length of the film was not an issue, as it seemed to fly by, but there was just so much unnecessary repetition, implying audience ignorance, in my opinion. 

On top of the amazing dialogue, tremendous acting is what really saved this film! My favorite thing about Sorkin's dialogue is that it always creates characters that feel extremely personal and comfortable with one another. Thankfully, that remained true with Steve Jobs, particularly with the relationship between Michael Fassbender's Steve Jobs and Kate Winslet's Joanna Hoffman. Additionally, the dialogue between Jobs and Jeff Daniels' John Sculley was clearly where Sorkin poured his heart into this film. Yelling = Love in Sorkin's mind, and Fassbender and Daniels surely know that fact, at this point. The only reservation that I had with Fassbender in this role was that the role felt like it was specifically written for Christian Bale. So, Fassbender actually appeared to be playing Christian Bale playing Steve Jobs, which makes the strong performance even more praiseworthy.

Best Character:
While I expected Michael Fassbender to amaze me, as he typically does, no one shone as bright as Kate Winslet in this film. Winslet is one of those actresses that I enjoy watching but rarely blows me away. Not any more! She was amazing! Not only was her Polish accent on key, but she really poured her heart and abilities into this character and stood toe to toe with Fassebender, who certainly pours as much passion into his characters as any actor that I've seen. Kudos to Winslet for impressing me!

Worst Character:
The cast of Steve Jobs was quite small and very impressive, which makes it difficult to pick a worst character, but I would say that Seth Rogen's portrayal of Steve Wozniak was fairly flat. The character itself was not all that bad, as it accomplished what Sorkin wanted. I just couldn't forget that it was Seth Rogen, as will be the case in any future dramatic roles portrayed by Seth Rogen. 

Overall, Steve Jobs was a solid film with intriguing dialogue with which I was politely satisfied. I was far from blown away by the film itself, but the cast was amazing (probably the best I've seen, in 2015, from end to end). And, I'm sure that I could go back and watch this film again before The Oscars and probably find even more to love. If you want a long history of the life of Steve Jobs, this film is probably not for you. If you want to be entertained and watch smart people say smart things and do smart stuff, go watch! Personally, the film did not meet my overly high expectations, but it was a solid film that will probably impress those who don't expect the world to shift off of its axis at film's end, as I did. I give Steve Jobs 3.88 out of 5 stars. 

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