Steve Jobs review: ‘Each line comes with its own round of applause’

08:15 16 November 2015

Steve Jobs. Picture: Universal Pictures

Steve Jobs. Picture: Universal Pictures


The biopic of Apple’s great revolutionary still leaves Michael Joyce with little idea why this control freak inspired such devotion.

In the film of his name, we drop in on Steve Jobs in the half hour or so before three of the most important product launches of his career. Each time the same selection of characters – family members and colleagues, all estranged to various degrees – turn up to engage in slanging matches that reveal a version of his life and times. Each time the product being launched looks enticing, is beautifully designed but doesn’t actually do much. The film of his name is sharp, energetic, fizzes with wit and ideas but is fundamentally not much use to anyone.

At one point Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (Rogen) asks him, “What did you do?” It’s a reasonable question for a biopic to pose but after sitting through this all-warts account of his life I still have little idea why this egotistical control freak inspired such rabid and creepy devotion. It’s a character assassination, but you never find out what motivated the hit. Of course, Fassbender is mesmerising in the main role but Fassbender is mesmerising as anyone – Fassbender being interesting as you, doesn’t make you interesting.

I did learn that Apple products, on Jobs insistence, were so self-contained that they had little application or use beyond their own existence, which makes them a perfect subject for an Aaron Sorkin screenplay. The Jobs script is stuffed full of inch perfect witticism and barbs: lines so good they provoke gasps of admiration rather than laughter. His lines come with their own round of applause. As in the Social Network the cast are encouraged to lob them around with a casual disregard, to suggest a level where this kind of cleverness is the norm, an existence way beyond our dull norms.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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