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Steve Jobs [RSC Film Club 44]


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This month we're delving into the filmography of Oscar winning director Danny Boyle thanks to @Con's nomination.  His is an incredibly varied filmography, from gritty drama to Bollywood musical through to sci-fi and feel-good family fare he's pretty much done it all.  The film we'll be watching, nominated by @djw180, is a biopic, that of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, also the title of the film.

Steve Jobs Movie Poster #2 | Steve jobs, Michael fassbender, Steve

Written by Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing fame, Steve Jobs stars Michael Fassbender in the title role.  The film covers the period in his life from 1984 up to the release of the iMac in 1998.  It co-stars Kate Winslet as Apple marketing exec Joanna Hoffman, Seth Rogen as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Jeff Daniels as Apple CEO John Sculley.  I've not seen this so I don't have much more to say, but I have seen David Fincher's The Social Network, about Mark Zuckerberg and the founding of Facebook, and I really enjoyed that even though it plays like a super-villain origin story.  I don't know if that will be a useful comparison to have in my head when watching this, but it's the first thing that comes to mind when I think of this film.  

Boyle himself is kind of hit-or-miss for me.  There are films of his I love - Sunshine is an amazing sci-fi film - but when he misses I find his films kind of boring (The Beach, Yesterday).  But I do like more of his films than I don't and have high expectations of this film thanks to the writer and the stellar cast.  

Steve Jobs Nyff 2015 GIF by Film at Lincoln Center

he dropped out of a better school than i dropped out of

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I nominated this because it's a film I hadn't seen before and co-stars one of my favourite actresses. I'd seen this advertised a number of times on streaming services but always ended up choosing to watch something else.

It's an interesting story. I have no idea how realistic it is. I work in IT and know people who think Steve Jobs walked on water and will happily pay whatever a Mac, iPhone etc is priced at. In this he comes across as somewhat of a megalomaniac. A visionary as well but not always getting things right. His obsession with how a product looks rather than how it actually functioned, to me, was stupid. He says towards the start of the film (in 1984 I think) that the product he is about to launch (I forget which one) would change the world. Well I would not say it did; most people used PCs not Macs. You could maybe say the iPhone changed the world, which came after this period this film covers, but not any other Apple product. He is clearly shown as having his flaws, e.g. his initial refusal to accept proper responsibility for his daughter.

The acting is good, particularly from Michael Fassbender in the lead role, Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman and I really liked Jeff Daniels as John Scully. The plot is very like a play, in 3 acts, each act is the launch of a different product. There is a bit of flash-back to how the earlier products were designed. Personally I would have liked more about the technical / IT side of things, whereas this film seemed mainly focussed on the business side. It is very slick looking though, like a Mac.

So I enjoyed it, but probably would not consider rewatching.


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I agree with most of what you have to say @djw180, but I came out of this with a much higher regard for it than you.  It may even be my favourite Danny Boyle film now.  You called it a very slick film, and that is the perfect description of the direction, this film is an Apple product and for me it works perfectly.   The screenplay also matches this style, with everyone speaking in incredibly erudite monologues that is not at all how people actually speak, but it's so well written - with impeccable performances to match - that I can't pick a favourite scene from the whole film.  They're all good.  

That three act structure, very theatrical, turns the film into a series of confrontations between Fassbender's Jobs and the other main players.  He also has very distinct relationships with these people, and they all treat him differently, and there are some nice shifts in the dynamics of these relationships as time progresses.  What makes this all really work though is Fassbender.  His performance here is incredible.  It's a very nuanced performance, with some of the best moments with his daughter.  The scene where he teaches her how to use a computer was unexpectedly touching and humanising for who is perceived to be something of a megalomaniac.

What this film also speaks to, since we are celebrating him this month, is Boyle's versatility as a director.  This is totally unlike anything else he has done, which is something you can say about pretty much all of his films, and love them or hate them, that's something to be lauded.  For me this is up there with Sunshine and Trainspotting as one of his very best.  9/10

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