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Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs; co-founder of Apple Inc.
Kate Winslet – Joanna Hoffman; marketing executive for Apple and NeXT
Seth Rogan – Steve Wozniak; co-founder of Apple and creator of Apple II
Jeff Daniels – John Sculley; CEO of Apple from 1983 to 1993
Katherine Waterston – Chrisann Brennan; Jobs’ former girlfriend
Michael Stuhlbarg – Andy Hertzfeld; a member of the original Mac team
I have to say, I was very impressed with the first hour of this movie. The opening scene sees Steve preparing backstage to go out on stage in front of a packed auditorium and present his brilliant new Apple computer. This scene becomes longer and longer, and eventually makes up a good portion of the feature’s screen time. It doesn’t get longer and longer in a bad way either. Some movies can be tediously lengthy, but far from this, Steve Jobs becomes more of a farce as Steve struts up and down hallways barking orders and insults at his colleagues, marketing executive Joanna rushes in and out of rooms, his ex-girlfriend turns up out of the blue to cause havoc, and the stage crew impatiently go against his wishes so they can get the show started.
The way these situations blend together is superb, creating the atmosphere of a tight schedule so tense that it borders on hilarious. With almost a feeling of hysteria, each character has somewhere to be – or something to do -but is hindered from doing so. And with Jobs in control of everything that happens, viewers are treated to moments of total aggression as he reduces people to trembling wrecks with just a few words. He orders his confidant (Winslet) to go out into the town and find a brand new shirt just minutes before curtain up, he refuses to take no for an answer from a male colleague and threatens the man’s job, he even pushes the boundaries to extremes and insists his team make something impossible – possible. Or they’re ALL fired. And then amongst all this, his ex-girlfriend turns up with their child whom he swears isn’t his..
The overall backstage bustle involves a flurry of tense excitement. Don’t get me wrong, Steve Jobs wasn’t the most rousing features I’ve ever watched, but it certainly whips itself into an atmosphere that I enjoyed heartily. All because of the situation comedy. Blended with this though are more serious issues; including unrequited love, emotional blackmail, financial drain and career threat.
There’s nothing quite like backstage frenzy, and this movie displayed it brilliantly by use of farce. Doors opening and slamming shut, one person in one out, Joanna becoming increasingly frustrated by Steve’s attitude, Steve becoming increasingly calm about everything even though it was all going wrong.. brilliant. And I must say, Fassbender was just superb.
I’ve never really been a fan of Michael Fassbender. He’s one of those actors who just seems to be – there. On screen in front of me, playing a character who doesn’t overly win me over. But his portrayal of Mr. Steve Jobs is flawless. The actor remains consistently effective; even when just standing on the spot talking to someone, there is a passionate performance radiating from him. The icy looks in his eyes and stern body language contribute to this excellent dynamic. Less is more here as Fassbender’s performance is so minimal that it grows bigger and bigger as the movie goes on. The way he speaks to people had the audience in the auditorium laughing out loud, his forthright and demanding tone of voice seizing total control of the situation as his colleagues and even family shrank and retreated under his words. Fassbender’s cast ensemble lean’t even more talent with each actor having his or her own dynamic – which although good – had nothing on the leading gentleman. Compared to him they were bland as fuck.
Brilliant performance from him.
Kate Winslet gives a fantastic performance as Joanna; Steve Jobs’ confidant.
Steadfast and slightly geeky, the actress ensures one half of the double act as she supports Fassbender nicely. This role differs nicely from many of her previous ones; she maintains a strong cultivated personality and looks the part too with huge spectacles and stylised clothing. Winslet brought a few laughs just with facial expressions in response to slurs from Fassbender. Their on-screen chemistry was nicely tense at the same time as being funny, the pair played it well.
One thing though – Joanna seemed to become more foreign towards the end of the movie, instead of the other way round. The marketing executive begins the movie by speaking with a proper hearty American accent (example in trailer, “I’m begging you to manage expectations out there”). Then the movie progresses to months – maybe years – later where Joanna is still working alongside Jobs. She has changed slightly. But so has her accent – to deep Colombian. Or something like Colombian. No idea, my point is that the woman has a foreign background and speaks proper American – but in the end, she becomes more foreign as she lives in America.
Steve Jobs isn’t bad at all. Tension is high and tempers flare as the movie displays how the CEO of Apple storms through his daily work, taking no prisoners and leaving his colleagues reeling. Fassbender does an excellent job of playing him. His voice and dialect raised to perfection as he churns out the script with speed, passion, fire. His mouth makes the show.
The fact this movie is split into three acts ensures an engaging, fast-paced feature that due to each act being based around the lead-up to Apple product launches, keeps the ball rolling nicely and doesn’t bore.
At times an undercurrent of farce bubbles nicely, topping up the effectiveness of the movie even more.
All of this makes it an interesting watch, but if you’re not a fan of technology or tech speak it’s probably best avoided. There is a lot of technical jargon flowing throughout.