Thursday, 28 January 2016

STEVE JOBS (2015) seems more Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle than Steve Jobs, but that's what makes it great

We may not have met many people like Steve Jobs the visionary, but I'm sure you have met a few like Steve Jobs the father.
Danny Boyle/Sorkin hybrid poster from here
In a previous post I compared two previous dramatic screen interpretations of Steve Jobs. I didn't hate the Ashton Kutcher version (it's great propaganda) and the fantastic tv movie that preceded it is sadly incomplete now.

Which brings me to Steve Jobs (2015) which I've been approaching with some trepidation because I knew I'd have to compare it with the others and while I'm comparatively ignorant about Steve Jobs, Danny Boyle is already a historic figure in the UK (Olympics) and I'm a massive fan of Aaron Sorkin.

+ Kate Winslet

So how could I objectively cover this without the usual gush?

I'm ashamed I didn't see this at the cinema. It was in the wake of the disappointing Max Max Fury Road which I thought was over-hyped.The luke warm (UK) reviews for Steve Jobs put me off (Seeing Bowie's career as a whole has since reminded me of the worth of critical opinion). Every time I sit with others openly chatting or reading phones in a cinema I make a scene, which happens a lot these days. I don't pay £16 to half hear other people chat.. I was busy.. etc etc etc

I'm ashamed I didn't see this at the cinema because it is instantly my favourite Sorkin piece and my favourite Danny Boyle film. It also probably contains my favourite performances from Kate Winslet and Seth Rogan. Mr Fassbinder is difficult to judge. Not seen Macbeth yet.

This movie, which could work well as a stage play, knocked me for six and it is difficult to stop thinking about it nearly a day later. I actually dreamt about it last night.

There is obviously less technology than Pirates of Silicon Valley (though they both start and end with heavy references the Ridley Scott 1984 advert ) and there is less personal mush than the 2013 version, and yet somehow weaves enough of both into a great tapestry that may not be 100% realistic but really captures the drama, uniqueness and tragedy of the character in a brilliant way.

Danny Boyle could get showy but carefully steps back and allows the actors and script to be the fireworks and they explode all over the screen.

Most obvious stand out is Kate Winslett as Joanna Hoffman the Polish "work wife", actually a marketing executive.

(Please note I'm only evaluating as characters, I really don't know enough about the real people to judge)

Winslet has to be the conscience and front for a thoroughly heartless bastard for most of this movie. She has to drag Fassbinders hateful carcass across the screen for at least an hour before the script provides enough explanation for the main characters behaviour. She has to play a kind of realistic character you not often see in a movie - part of a long time platonic friendship and working relationship between a man and a woman. This is a serious acting performance in that it takes you away from the experience of watching film star Kate Winslet, yet is not showy and is convincing.

Not sure about the accent but as she says to

"...her accent, is fairly complicated. She grew up largely in Armenia, spent some time in Poland, and has Russians in her family, so she has all three accents, but she’s been in America since she was a teenager, so she had American rhythms. You know, she really has this accent that goes way up and down. It’s almost impossible to copy because of just how singsongy it becomes. So I had to put it into my own register. But we were all doing accents. I mean, Michael’s Irish, and he’s playing Steve Jobs, for God’s sake."

Just noticed
Winslet won a Best Supporting Actress and Sorkin won Best Screenplay at the 73rd Golden Globes, while Fassbender and Winslet were both nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, at the Academy Awards.

Seth Rogen, as Steve Wozniak, has to play bromance turned to near hate and gets though some tough convincing scenes  - despite having to look like Fozzy Bear.

Jeff Daniels plays supposedly the villainous CEO who kicked Jobs out of Apple. Here he is mainly continuing the sympathetic boss unhinged by circumstance character in Newsroom but I'm happy with that. I'm so depressed Newsroom got cancelled I still can't bring myself to watch the final series.

And so onto Sorkin - who packs in Olympian banter, great one liners, history defining ideas and explanations with a heartbreaking human story that is extremely easy to relate to.

We may not have met many people like Steve Jobs the visionary, but I bet you have met a few like Steve Jobs the father.

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