If there’s one man who can can give Quentin Tarantino a run for his money on a screenplay’s wordcount, it’s Aaron Sorkin. For those who don’t enjoy the words of QT, then at least your ears can enjoy Sorkin’s work — while still as foul-mouthed, at least it’s centered around real people, making the dialogue more palatable to the masses. As if the heights of his Oscar winning adaptation of The Social Network weren’t dizzying enough, now he’s set his sights on bringing to light the life and times of one of the greatest marketers of our time with Steve Jobs. Having director Danny Boyle calling the shots only sweetens the deal. And then you throw in the likes of Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet in the leads and man, let’s just say that there will be plenty buzz surrounding the film before the Oscar winners are announced next February.
Sorkin shines the spotlight on critical moments in Jobs’s (Fassbender) career, with the film taking place in three sustained scenes. The first opens in 1984 with the launch of the Macintosh which Jobs is sure will change the world. Behind-the-scenes, Jobs is facing the issue that the computer won’t do the one thing he wants most: to say hello. With his head of marketing Joanna Hoffman (Winslet) by his side, he tries to pull out all the stops to make engineer Andy Hertzefeld (Michael Stuhlbarg) fix it. Jobs is also saddled dealing with a paternity suit from Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterston) trying to make Jobs step up to being father to five-year-old Lisa (Makenzie Moss). The film also takes us through the launch of Jobs’ own NeXT Black Cube in 1988 and to the Apple iMac launch in 1998, where Lisa, now 19 (played by Perla Haney-Jardine), needs money for both college and trying to take care of her mother.
For two-thirds of the runtime, Steve Jobs is a masterful whirlwind. It’s not until we get to the 1998 section that things take a turn for the more dramatic and the pacing hits a small snag. The cast are all apt to spew Sorkin’s brilliant dialogue and Boyle manages to deliver one of his best film in an already amazing filmography — 127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire, Sunshine, Millions, 28 Days Later…, Trainspotting, and Shallow Grave. The Beach, A Life Less Ordinary, and Trance notwithstanding, that’s quite the list of fantastic entertainment already under his belt, and there’s clearly no signs of him slowing down.
As for Sorkin, the man is guaranteed another Best Adapted Screenplay nod — if not another win — it’s a shame he doesn’t do more narratives, then he could really give Tarantino a run for his money! Fassbender is at the top of game, making Jobs both the world’s biggest dick, yet also empathetic. You see the man’s drive oozing from every pore, but we still find sympathy in the estranged relationship he has with Lisa. All three actresses — also portrayed by Ripley Sobo at age nine — playing Lisa manage to show her own conflicted emotions with the man she knows is her father, whether he wants to admit it or not. Winslet herself melts into Joanna, I didn’t even know it was her until the credits rolled! Seth Rogen manages to squeeze in a few show stopping moments as frenemy Steve Wozniak and Jeff Daniels gets to play surrogate father as John Sculley.
The Oscar bait seems to be getting served on a nearly weekly basis this fall, and Steve Jobs is no exception. Razor sharp and brilliantly written, this is a look behind the curtain at one of the most innovative men of all time and is should not be missed.