Review: Jobs

I’m not the sort of person who looks at my Mac, or my iPod, and says “wow – I want to know the story behind this” – because I don’t. If you believe the Steve Jobs that Ashton Kutcher has built in this film to be the real one, then the impression I got is that Steve Jobs didn’t want you to want to know the story behind it either. He wanted you to press the little button that turns the thing on and get to doing what you bought the thing for.

That being said, I always approach biographical stories with an open mind – especially biographical stories that depict events that have happened so recently. The danger, of course, with creating a film based on a person who the average cinema-goer would have watched news reports about from a first person perspective is that you’re not going to live up to the impression that they have of who that person was. Unfortunately, that became apparent across most of Kutcher’s portrayal. At times it didn’t feel like I was looking into the eyes of Steve Jobs, innovator and all-around-brainbox – I felt like I was looking at Ashton Kutcher, being really really smug. Of course, every biographical movie is expected to remain faithful to the core character of the person it tells the story of; this meant, however, that I sat through a 122 minute exploration of the life of a remarkably unlikeable individual, regardless of his impact on the world of computing and technology. The arrogance that the portrayal bestowed upon Jobs almost made me want to step into the film, grab him by the shoulders and scream “You’re not wearing any shoes, so stop acting like you’re the greatest gift to computer science since Alan Turing!”

There were also serious issues with the film’s writing. When it wasn’t attempting to emulate a stereotypical “Steve-Jobs-in-a-turtleneck” keynote or one of those godawful videos they put out when they release a new product or a new version for their operating system, it felt stilted and trite. It was almost ironic how a film about the man who spearheaded some of the most elegant design and implementation in modern computing history  had his life story played out in one of the most inelegant film pieces I’ve had the displeasure of watching.

The short montage at the end of the film only served to reassure me as a viewer that they had managed to cast and/or make up actors to look a fair bit like the people they were meant to portray. The director, Joshua Michael Stern, doesn’t seem to give the film time to make in-depth analyses into who it was talking about – instead focusing on montages of Kutcher recreating Jobs’ iconic gait that make him seem more and more awkward as each one plays through.

Frankly, the film doesn’t have enough guts to actually inspire awe for what Steve Jobs managed to achieve – it only tells the story of a temperamental man who, despite being repeatedly described throughout as unable to connect with others, gets every chance he needs handed to him until he starts asking for what the big bad businessmen deem to be “too much”.

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