Jobs biopic paints interesting portrait of Steve Jobs and Apple
Jobs, the biopic of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, shows an idealistic, visionary and complicated man who also just happened to ignite the personal computer revolution.
Starring Ashton Kutcher in the title role, the film opens in 2001 as Jobs is about reveal the iPod for the first time to staff gathered at Apple headquarters.
From there we go back to 1974 when Jobs was a bare-foot college drop-out trying to find his true calling and also struggling come to terms with his identity and the fact that he was adopted.
Kutcher does well to capture Steve Jobs’ mannerisms right down to his walk and posture and also matches his look right down to the hairstyles, beards, circular glasses, turtlenecks and New Balance running shoes.
There were times where you did forget you were watching Kutcher and were observing the brilliant, and at times difficult, genius that Jobs was.
The film, directed by Joshua Michael Stern and written by Matt Whitely, uses a number of montages – including an early one documenting Jobs’ journey of self discovery to India and his “fruitarian” ways where he eats nothing but the same fruit.
Throughout the film the audience is given glimpses of the many facets of Steve Jobs personality which feel as if the director is ticking them off one by one on a clipboard.
Rather than creating a complete picture of who Steve Jobs the man is, it is like looking a jigsaw puzzle where some pieces are randomly added until you see the final image.
One scene shows Jobs working at Atari (where he invents Pong) but is forced to work the night shift because his co-workers can’t stand his attitude – or his odour.
Later in the film he is firing programmers for not sharing his vision and in another scene kicks out his girlfriend after she tells him she’s pregnant with his child.
But there are many aspect of his life glossed over or just left out altogether.
His relationship with his family is shown at a glance in one scene and his relationship with his father along with his appreciation of beauty and design is never completely fleshed out.
But what most people are interested in is how Jobs and the other Steve – Steve Wozniak (played remarkably by Josh Gad) – got their heads together to form what will one-day become the most valuable company in the world.
Long before that the film does well to capture the period where technology and computing has triggered a new rush in Silicon Valley.
The initial meetings between Jobs and Wozniak were our favourite parts of the film. Seeing Jobs realise what they’ve created and feeling his frustration that others couldn’t see the same is like watching the Beatles being booed at their first live performance.
As the company grows we see the corporate Steve whose visions for his beloved Lisa computer result in delays and cost overruns and put him direct conflict with the board.
Even after convincing the then Pepsi CEO John Sculley to come onboard at Apple, Jobs finds himself once again the centre of conflict.
“You’re your own worst enemy,” a frustrated CEO Sculley tells Jobs before he is voted out of his own company.
The film seems a little disjointed at times as if it’s joining the dots to cover the major company events and milestones rather than maintaining a continuous narrative.
The geeks who are old enough to remember all of these events happening will enjoy the “history of Apple” side to the film.
But the film is called Jobs, not Apple, and the focus is on the man with only cursory references to the many other people on the Apple team in those early days.
The last act of the film covers the return of Jobs to Apple which is on the brink of collapse and tries to cover off a lot of what happens after his triumphant comeback as interim CEO in a short space of time.
One scene showing the first time Jobs meets Jonny Ive, Apple’s legendary designer, manages to capture Jobs’ motivation to make Apple the company it is today.
Overall the film is an enjoyable insight into the man and the company that changed they way we use consumer electronics.
Jobs is not a perfect film, but it is far from a flop either.
It is an interesting look at a man who was as complex as the machines he created and a fly-on-the-wall look inside those top secret Apple hallways in the heady days following the explosion in personal computing.
And for Apple fan boys and girls – it’s a must see.