David Fincher jumped ship, and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s 200-page screenplay took the form of a bizarre triptych, ending before the game-changing iPod, and Michael Fassbender looked nothing like its subject… yet audiences who overlooked Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs – it pretty much crashed in the US – missed a treat: a kinetic, operatic and almost mythic tale, about a singular iconoclast who, for all his manifold flaws, really did put “a dent in the universe” (and, let’s not forget, your favourite movies in your pocket).
It would arguably take more than one film to crack the enigma of Apple’s co-founder and great visionary, and Steve Jobs wasn’t the straightforward biopic many expected. Yet Boyle brought Sorkin’s idiosyncratic script to life with great directorial and editorial imagination, and not one but three outstanding performances, from Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen. Fassbender, who looks about as much like Jobs as Ving Rhames does Bill Gates, produces an almost alchemical manifestation of his subject, creating in the audience an appropriately Jobsian ‘reality distortion field’ that renders mere physical resemblance meaningless. Whether you give a damn about Jobs or the personal computer revolution he helped to foment, Steve Jobs is fantastically entertaining, managing to be both a paean to the difficult genius and a castigation of what one of Jobs’ long-suffering colleagues called an ‘assaholic’.
“Historians tell you what happened, dramatists tell you what it felt like,” says Boyle, explaining Sorkin’s fast and loose approach to Walter Isaacson’s warts-and-all biography, on which the script was largely based. “The only thing that really happened is they couldn’t get the computer to say ‘Hello,’” Sorkin admits in the commentary he shares with Oscar-nominated editor Elliot Graham, which is less captivating than the one in which Boyle flies solo. All three, plus the cast, are on hand for Inside Jobs, a 45-minute ‘making of’ that takes us behind the scenes of the film’s ‘behind the scenes’ scenes. All that’s really missing are the deleted scenes (in his commentary, Boyle mentions some he hopes will be on the disc), but the background detail spread across the other extras are plentiful.