In many ways Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs is much like an Apple product. The 2015 film is exceptionally good looking (Boyle shot the film using 16mm, 35mm and digital to give each time period a unique look), uncluttered and innovative. It may follow the traditional biopic format of rise, fall and rebirth but it’s done in such an impressive way that it feels fresh. And that’s what Steve Jobs was all about – taking existing concepts and making them feel brand new.
Those expecting a conventional biopic will be disappointed by Boyle’s film. This is an energetic look at Jobs, through an unconventional film yet it’s not a film for the masses. It’s a character piece, one made even more impressive by Michael Fassbender’s splendid turn as Steve Jobs.
Eschewing narrative convention, Boyle’s film takes place in the moments before three big product launches, skipping through time to show Jobs at pivotal moments in his life. We begin in 1984, move to 1988 and conclude in 1998 on the cusp of Jobs’ i-revolution. Aaron Sorkin’s script is a series of ‘walk-and-talks’, and the dialogue is brimming with plot points and detail. Michael Fassbender looks nor sounds nothing like the real Steve Jobs – but that’s okay. Often films based on real people feel like cartoonish caricatures, relying on elaborate prosthetics and silly character ticks. Fassbender embodies everything about Jobs without having to cloud him with theatrics – he’s able to show us the man’s skill, power and ego.
Budgeted at $30 million, Steve Jobs grossed $17.7 million at the US box office and $34.4 million globally.