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dir Danny Boyle
scr Aaron Sorkin
prd Scott Rudin, Mark Gordon, Christian Colson, Danny Boyle, Guymon Casady
with Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, Makenzie Moss, Sarah Snook, John Ortiz, Adam Shapiro
release US 9.Oct.15, UK 13.Nov.15
15/US Universal 2h02
It has to say 'hello': Stuhlbarg, Fassbender and Winslet
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Whether this film is an accurate portrait of the eponymous Apple founder is frankly irrelevant. This is a storming example of the power of cinema to tell a story with complexity and invention. Every element works together to carry the audience through the narrative using just three key scenes that would actually play well on-stage. But the way it's shot and edited adds layers of depth.
It opens in 1984, as Steve (Fassbender) is preparing to launch the Macintosh with cofounder Steve Wozniak (Rogen), marketing expert Joanna Hoffman (Winslet) and developer Andy Hertzfeld (Stuhlbarg). But he's interrupted by ex-girlfriend Chrisann (Waterston) and 5-year-old Lisa (Moss), who Steve won't acknowledge as his daughter. He also has a pointed conversation with his board's chairman John Sculley (Daniels) right before going on-stage. This same scenario repeats at the NeXT launch in 1988 and the iMac launch in 1998, as Steve harshly holds his focus and Lisa (now Sobo, then Haney-Jardine) grows up.
Rather than a literal depiction of events in Jobs' life, the film is an artful look at what drives a man to try, try and try again to change the face of the world. Through Sorkin's astute and astonishingly well-structured script, Fassbender is able to find so many facets to the character that the audience is kept guessing. He's smart and witty, and simultaneously likeable and horrible. And the film beautifully explores his evolving relationships with the people around him over 15 years.
Winslet is terrific as Hoffman, matching Fassbender's razor-sharp energy step by step as the only person Jobs engages with over his own flaws. With others like Rogen's scruffy nice guy Wozniak and Stuhlbarg's tenacious Hertzfeld, Jobs' dismissive reactions obscure the respect he claims to have. His literate banter with the superb Daniels' Sculley is the film's meaty centre, cleverly editing flashbacks right into the conversation. And the heart is in Jobs' interaction with Lisa, intricately played scenes that are both grating and moving.
Director Boyle brings his A-game to Sorkin's fiendishly textured script. It's cleverly shot by cinematographer Alwin Kuchler to distinguish between the periods, while Elliot Graham's editing masterfully toggles between perspectives to pull the audience deep into the characters' minds. In other words, this is far from a literal biopic: it's a story everyone in the audience can relate to, simply because we all have relationships that we could have handled better. And maybe it offers hope to make things right, even in an imperfect way.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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