Steve Jobs: A Biopic of Power

The Oscars are coming up next Sunday, so I’ve decided to go back and watch some films from last years Oscars that I’d missed. This film was nominated for both Michael Fassbender’s and Kate Winslet’s performances. It seems this film sort of slipped through the cracks, due to bad box office returns and audience’s disinterest with the subject matter. I found it to be one of the more interesting biopics in recent memory.

The screenplay was pinned by Aaron Sorkin, and if you’ve ever seen an Aaron Sorkin film, then you know about his writing style and his expertise with dialogue. Sorkin is arguably one of the greatest screenwriters working today and this film builds onto this fact. A great mark of the writing is the way it handles exposition. There is a lot of important information expressed through just character’s stating things, but Sorkin does this by using historical events, pop culture references, and characterization to give this information to the audience, without beating us over the heads with it.

What impressed me about the most about the film was its structure. Instead of giving us an annoying crash course through the man’s entire life, we see three separate instances where Jobs prepares for a press conference on a new technological device. The sequences build off the conflicts of the previous, and show us many recurring characters as they adapt and change over the years.

Visually, this is shown through how the look of the film. The first sequence in 1984 was shot using 16mm film stock, the second using 35mm film stock, and the final sequence was shot digitally. This was a great way to visually parallel the changing times. I also liked the transitions between the acts. Through news clippings and footage, we are shown what happens in between the events efficiently and without too much head beating. There were also a few flashbacks in the film that enforce heavy points and delve deeper into these characters and their relationships.

However, the true mark of a great writer, is when actors are able to perform the writing well, and under the excellent direction of Danny Boyle this cast achieves just that. Michael Fassbender’s performance as Jobs was outstanding. Obviously, some liberties were taken with the character and the events of the film (like most films that say they are “based on a true story), but Fassbender brings this visionary man to the screen with ease.

The whole supporting cast is great as well including Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, and Michael Stuhlbarg. I must give special praise to Seth Rogen who plays Steve Wozniak, Jobs good friend and a character who is very much against type. All of the cast disappear in their roles and bring these real life characters to the screen.

I must also mention the camera movement. I loved how the camera followed these characters as they walked around with many tracking, dolly and steadicam shots. It made me feel like I was there with them. Like this was real life unfolding before my eyes. The way it is written as well, it felt like a filmed version of a stage play. The performances certainly enforce this idea.

Overall, this is a well-made film about real people, even though it does alter the true events to make them more entertaining. I was not a fan of how the film focused mostly on the relationship with Jobs’ daughter but I understand why they did it. I felt that the technique of the film overcomes the story faults, and made it an enjoyable experience to watch.

Written by William David Glenn IV

2.19.17

 

 

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