‘It’s like five minutes before every launch, everyone goes to a bar and gets drunk and tells me what they really think,” laments Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) during the closing stretch of Danny Boyle’s buoyant, breathless biopic. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has done an ingenious job of condensing Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography of the late Apple co-founder, though he has taken even bigger liberties than he did with the Facebook-themed “The Social Network” in 2010.
Split into three sections, “Steve Jobs” catches up with its hero as he prepares to go on stage for the launches of a trio of products that would define his career trajectory: the original Macintosh computer in 1984 (dud), the NeXT computer in 1988 (bigger dud) and the iMac in 1998 (third time lucky!).
In Sorkin’s drastically telescoped view, each event becomes an emotional bottleneck for the notoriously brusque tech innovator, as he faces off with colleagues past and present, including fellow Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), one-time CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) and his unflappable marketing executive, Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet). The film even contrives to have Jobs’ estranged daughter turn up for every single launch, which is a bit of a stretch.
Viewers who experience ardent adulation each time a new iPhone hits the market will lap it up, but others might wonder what all the fuss is about. The film exposes some of Jobs’ foibles, but brushes them off as an unfortunate side effect of his genius. He gave us the iPod — how could he not be a god?