Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, John Ortiz
Directed By: Danny Boyle
Michael Fassbender is pretty much the only reason to see Steve Jobs. Sorry. I know, this is a huge film, and the critics love it, but I wasn’t blown away. It’s alright, but it is often directionless, feeling as if it jumps through time without any actual need to. It’s a lot of conversation, and a lot of of back and forth, but it feels almost plotless at times, and overall it felt directionless.
However, I thought Michael Fassbender was pretty good. Not the best of the year, or even his best performance, but he’s a solid reason to watch the film. Rogen is underused as Steve Wozniack, which is why he isn’t making any Oscar buzz lists. I’m actually surprised Kate Winslet is making lists, because it’s not a showy role. It is a testament to either how beloved Winslet is as an actress, or how weak the supporting actress category is. She’s not bad, her role just doesn’t give her explosive moments to stand out. Fassbender has those moments, and he’s the only one in the film that does.
I’m not sure how the Steve Jobs family feels about the film, or how Jobs would feel about it. It doesn’t necessarily paint him in the best light, unless all he cared about was being portrayed as a genius. Steve Jobs is smart, but he’s also incredibly narcissistic, and carries a large chip on his shoulder. Fassbender does a decent job of walking that fine line between likable and unlikable, which is important to not cross when you’re the main character in the film. You have to have the bad and the good mixed in. Too much bad would have damaged the film.
Steve Jobs isn’t just about the rise of one man, but also the interesting and troubled relationship he had with his daughter Lisa. Between denying her, and keeping her at arms length, Steve dances around being a real father to her. Interestingly, the man who was adopted has a hard time being a father himself.
Again, I’m not that impressed by the film. I understand why it didn’t play well to the masses. It’s a bit like a David Mamet script, or an episode of The West Wing. It’s almost too smart for a wide audience. But all that smart, all that brain power couldn’t make a coherent film with a structured story and plot. Thin lines connecting do not make a strong plot. But honestly, I do love Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue. He does write really great dialogue. It’s just a shame there’s no story to connect it.
FINAL GRADE: B