Written by Matilda Mornane.
Jobs is a cunning film. From the very first scene, it fills you with an uplifting sort of inspiration, the kind that makes you nod along with all of these defining moments in Jobs’ life. But doesn’t everyone know Jobs’ story by now?
Yes, he was a genius.
Yes, he created a company that makes arguably some of the most recognisable products in the world.
That being said, whatever this film is trying to say about him, it falls a bit short of the point.
Moving first through his early adulthood, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this portion of his life sped by in a haze consisting only of acid trips, arty, whimsical shots of ideas forming, and an enlightening trip to India. The film reads like one long trailer: cut fast, with the kind of music that makes you want to have attended college in the late 70s. It’s all very artistic.
We quickly witness Jobs’ dramatic failures, and his even more dramatic successes, interspersed with his seemingly awful personal life. While you get a sense of his charismatic nature, negotiating skills and persuasive power, the reflections on Jobs’ personality are– well, sad. This film makes it really hard to like Jobs: he’s selfish, harsh with even those closest to him, and can be cruel at the best of times. Jobs ultimately becomes critical of Jobs as a person, but glorifies his professional successes. It’s so brutal that at times I caught myself thinking, is this really how we’re supposed to remember him?
There are some good points, though. The cast is absolutely incredible: Dermot Mulroney (of My Best Friend’s Wedding fame), J.K. Simmons (Spiderman, Juno), and James Woods (do I even need to mention films for this actor?), amongst others. The most convincing performance comes from Josh Gad (Love & Other Drugs), as Jobs’ original business partner and the engineer behind the first Apple computer, Steve Wozniak, or ‘Woz’. His comedic timing is perfect, and he becomes one of the most likeable characters in the film. In fact, the moments of comedy are genuinely funny and, even though they are few and far between, I found myself enjoying these most.
Ashton Kutcher, though, I can’t quite get my head around. He has the haircut, the no shoes, high pants style, and the walk down. But I find him unconvincing, and most of his time is spent talking in dramatic one-liners about the future of Apple, his vision for the company, and not much else. There are a few scenes of great acting on Kutcher’s part, but it’s as if he’s never quite lost in the character he is playing, and his portrayal is too obvious for my taste.
The lack of focus in the film is, for me, alienating. I’m mostly confused by whatever director Joshua Michael Stern is trying to convey about Jobs’ life. While the emotional moments most certainly drag you into the storyline, on the whole, I’m just annoyed at the way they’ve painted the late Steve Jobs.
If you don’t know much about the Apple Empire and Jobs’ life, then this film is perfect for you. The cinematography and the soundtrack are great, and both make you want to jump into a time machine to experience life in the 70s and 80s, and join the ‘Apple revolution’.
However, if you are familiar with the Apple story, then I don’t recommend seeing it. The overall direction of the film is lost, and I’m not blown away by the manner in which the filmmakers have decided to show Jobs’ life to the world.
THE REEL SCORE: 6/10