It is odd to think that about a year ago, this movie was in severe trouble. The leaked Sony emails revealed the struggle of casting the leads and finding a director. Everything seemed okay when David Fincher was set to direct and Christian Bale set to star. Then, everything went south as Fincher and Bale both left and amidst the whole The Interview debacle, Sony completely sold off the rights to the movie. Shortly after, Universal picked up the right and got to work immediately. With Danny Boyle set to direct, Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen, and the rest of the cast were brought in and filming of the Aaron Sorkin penned movie began.
David Fincher is one of the best directors working right now but thank god that he didn’t direct Steve Jobs. Fincher seemed like the safe choice where you knew he would do a great job but it wouldn’t be anything particularly stunning. Danny Boyle was a far more interesting choice and he knocked this one out of the park. There were many scenes that Boyle made so much better just by adding in some artistic value. While the script is the peanut butter, and tastes good all by itself, the direction is the jelly and makes this sandwich so much better.
Not enough can be said about Aaron Sorkin as a writer because he is an absolute marvel. A Few Good Men and The Social Network are some of my favorite movies of all time and Moneyball is one of the best sports movies of all time so it is safe to say that I had high expectations going in to his latest film. In comparison to those films, Steve Jobs is definitely his fastest paced script yet. There is no nonsense in the film. When it starts, it is already in high gear and it stays in that gear until the end credits. Only when this movie ends is when you realize that your palms are extremely sweaty.
Steve Jobs takes the common 3 act structure and uses it to its absolute maximum. It feels like sitting in a theater and watching a broadway show. The film takes place entirely in one day in 1984, 1988, and 1998 and each of those years gets a full act. Sorkin’s dialogue moves so fast that the 2 hour runtime flies by. Also, Boyle’s use of real news footage as transitions is really well done and handles what needs to be told without giving too much unnecessary information. Boyle was also incredibly smart when he decided to shoot the first act on 16mm, second act on 35mm, and the final act on digital. This style really lends itself to the period in which it takes place and helps the viewer embrace the time jump.
While not really looking like the titular character until the final act, Michael Fassbender was undeniably great. He encompassed the ego and attitudes of Jobs while also seeming like a guy you want to root for. However, no matter how good Fassbender was, it could not have worked without an amazing supporting cast. The majority of the film is Jobs interacting with one other character so every performance had to crank it up a notch. Of the main cast members, all of them are Oscar worthy. Kate Winslet was the perfect counter to Jobs’ unreasonable and egotistical mannerisms and she transformed herself to where she is unrecognizable. Jeff Daniels delivers another fantastic performance this year as John Scully, former CEO of Apple who is most well known for firing Steve Jobs, a moment that the movie highlights extremely well. Daniels works so well with Sorkin dialogue and it only helps that he looks exactly like Scully. Michael Stuhlbarg also shines as Andy Hertzfeld, who had a much bigger role in the film than I anticipated.
While all of these actors were great, I never thought I would say this but Seth Rogen gave the best performance. While we get a little bit of the bumbling idiot that we know so well, Rogen progresses into an incredibly moving and emotional performance that is highlighted in his final conversation with Jobs in the film. Even the real Steve Wozniak praised the comedians job at becoming him. Another thing that I never thought I would say, but look out for Seth Rogen come Oscar season.
While some may complain about how we never actually see Jobs give the presentations, Steve Jobs is a fast-paced and honest telling of the man who changed technology today. Boyle and Sorkin work amazingly together and the cast are all phenomenal. Accompanied by a great score by Daniel Pemberton, the film is whimsical and fun while also being intense and dramatic. Steve Jobs is a movie that could sweep up all the Oscars and rightfully so.