Danny Boyle’s bravura portrait of the revered Apple Inc co-founder is neither a traditional biopic nor a gushing hagiography.
Steve Jobs is an audacious character study in three acts that paints its subject as an egomaniac, a visionary and a neglectful father.
Scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin deserves to add another golden statuette to his mantelpiece for his exemplary work here.
He explores violently clashing facets of Jobs’ personality through the prism of three key product launches in 1984, 1988 and 1998 respectively.
Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet are mesmerising as the titular maven and his right-hand woman, who take very different approaches to people management.
In the first section, Steve (Fassbender) prepares to launch the first Mackintosh, flanked by marketing executive Joanna Hoffman (Winslet), one of the few people that tolerates his outbursts.
When the computer’s voice function glitches, Steve verbally abuses development team leader Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg).
Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) watches from the wings, bearing witness to the birth of a monster.
In the second chapter, Steve continues to clash with his first girlfriend Chrisann (Katherine Waterston), who claims he is the father of her daughter.
‘Things don’t become so because you say so,’ she snaps, as Jobs prepares to launch The Cube, which he knows will be a failure.
Bitter defeat turns into sweet personal triumph in the final act as Steve returns to the Apple fold, ousts Sculley from his perch and prepares to dazzle the world with the iMac.
Excellence behind the camera would mean nothing without pyrotechnics on screen and Fassbender lights the fuse on his own Oscar chances with a scintillating portrayal of Jobs, who likens himself to a conductor.
‘Musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra,’ he coolly tells his inner circle.
Glimpsed through Boyle’s unflinching and sometimes unflattering lens, Jobs played his orchestra until their fingers bled while he barely broke sweat.