The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about the Steve Jobs bio-pic “Jobs” in about the time it takes to watch the trailer.
I get the sense that if Apple had made this movie tickets would be about twice as much, and we’d already be waiting on the next version.
“Jobs” follows the life of Apple creator Steve Jobs through the ins and outs of its creation, business decisions, and personal philosophy and choices, and the impact it has had on our culture. We get a look into his business acumen and drive, his personal demons, and the founding principles that have resulted in some of the most fervent (and if I’m honest, occasionally annoying) brand loyalty of modern day companies. But even as intertwined as Steve Jobs and his company Apple are, this isn’t a movie about a business, it’s a movie about a man, and tries to tell us his story in a compelling way even if it might feel a bit too familiar.
I’ll say up front, I really enjoyed this. Ashton Kutcher is a surprisingly convincing Jobs, and though the performance isn’t necessarily Oscar caliber, it does the trick. The cast around him is even better, with Josh Gads, who I would say is my best thing, taking an incredible turn as Steve’s “best friend” Woz, as much as Steve Jobs could have a best friend at least. His departure scene in this film is as powerful as anything I’ve seen this year, and I wouldn’t bat an eye if he got nominated for an Oscar because of it. (Not that I really do much eye batting to speak of anyway). I also loved the balance this film attempted to craft by showing how Jobs’ driven nature impacted the world around him, often leaving pain and abandonment in its wake. There is a real wonderful look at what happens when we treat people as pieces of a puzzle rather than valuable friends that could inform our lives. Not to mention the true story itself is compelling enough to carry the film.
Even with all this going for it though, the movie feels like it falls just shy of being great. I think much of this is due to my worst thing, which is the disjointed start and stop feel much of the storytelling relies on. Even though it all makes sense it just feels like some parts of the story come too quickly while others are lingered on a bit too long. This is exacerbated by a very large cast that can get slightly confusing at times. Another thing it has going against it is that we’ve very recently seen this storyline of technology as new business and the resulting power struggle in “The Social Network”, but done better all around. Primarily in the area of writing. There isn’t much about the script that feels clever or especially interesting, instead it feels very matter of fact. Maybe this is an accurate representation of that world, but it makes for an occasionally stunted journey at the cineplex.
Still Jobs succeeds for the most part. His life was interesting enough to hold my attention and Josh Gad was working on a level I didn’t know he had. Despite not being a great movie it is a very good one, I’d say right around a B.
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