I saw Steve Jobs the film at a special Bafta screening a few weeks ago. It is a brilliant cinematic achievement full of high emotional conflict and superbly talented acting. Michael Fassbender is gripping in his portrayal of the perfectionist entrepreneur who sacrifices personal relationships to realise his vision of the future. Kate Winslet was also disarmingly convincing as Jobs right hand fixer Joanna Hoffman.
We were happily treated to a Q&A session after the screening with Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogan, Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin – the super talented screenwriter. They were all full of praise for Sorkin’s script which created a 3 act structure lined up with the launches of the original Macintosh, Next Computer and the first iMac. And well they should be – Sorkin, who also wrote “The West Wing” described the musical nature of his approach to dialogue. The particular piece ebbs and flows, restates its themes and rises, diminishes and climaxes like a Rachmaninov concerto.
All action takes place backstage in the hours before each launch and focuses on the personal tensions between Jobs, his daughter, her mother, Wozniak, Sculley and others. The script does not shy away from showing us Jobs maniacal self-belief and uncompromising nature.
The actors were given two weeks rehearsal and two weeks shooting for each of the sections by Boyle (no chairs, they had to stand the entire time). They all appreciated the time this gave them to refine and explore the dramatic potential of the piece and develop and refine their own responses.
As a side note, and of particular fascination to me (as a long time fan) was the opening sequence which featured early grainy black and white footage of Arthur C Clarke describing a “small personal computer” that will transform the future and the way we communicate with each other. So brilliantly prescient.
All in all the film presents us with a masterclass in the art of powerful filmaking, acting and scriptwriting. Not to be missed.