*** out of ****
Writer Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network) returns to biopics, teaming with director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) for Steve Jobs.
The filmmakers make an effort to break out of the mold of conventional childhood-to-death biopics, and that’s a good thing. Jobs is structured more like a 3-act play, with three lengthy scenes centered around the title character (played by Michael Fassbender) at different product launches throughout his career (the Macintosh in 1984, the Next Cube in 1988, and the IMac in 1998). At these events, the audience witnesses conflicts he has with his former partner (Seth Rogan), Apple’s CEO (the excellent Jeff Daniels), his assistant (Kate Winslet with an iffy Polish accent), and the mother (Katherine Waterston) of his child.
The one drawback to this structure is that it necessitates some overly on-the-nose and expository dialogue. But, that quibble aside, for a nearly two-hour movie that’s literally all talk, Steve Jobs is entertaining and fast-paced. As usual, Sorkin writes funny, sharp dialogue and Fassbender turns in a stellar performance. Jobs is a difficult character to like - he was spiteful, demanding, petty, and sometimes downright cruel. But Sorkin, Fassbender, and Boyle are able to make a portrait of a man you wouldn’t want to work for into a movie you won’t mind spending two hours watching.