If there is one person in the whole world whom I idolize right now it would be Steve Jobs. Yes, the illustrious visionary who gave us Apple and changed the whole technological landscape in the 21st century. Ever since I read Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Steve and watched one of his last keynotes, the Apple co-founder’s words and his reality distortion field took a hold on me. Here is a man who sees things others can’t, a man who has a vision of the future that nobody hasn’t seen yet, a man who is willing to go out of his way to prove everyone that what he is doing simply works. When he died in 2011 I joined the world in mourning one of the few Da Vinci’s of our time. In fact when Apple announced it would open an account where people could send their condolence messages, I jumped at the chance to pay my respects to Steve Jobs.
In Danny Boyle’s latest film “Steve Jobs” starring Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet, Danny Boyle sets out to reinterpret the man who has been profiled from his highest to his lowest point in the tech world. Instead of doing a traditional biopic starting with Steve’s humble beginnings in some garage in California he zooms in on three epochal moments in Steve and Apple’s lives: the launches of LISA, NeXT, and the iMac. These three events are macroscopic, showing the general feel and atmosphere typical of Apple launches. But zoom in closer, Steve’s life begins to unfold, a not so straightforward storytelling where complex and complicated layers begin folding upon itself to create the persona that is Steve Jobs.
At the center of this whole story isn’t Steve but his daughter Lisa, who in all three scenes serves as a counterweight to her father’s ego and bravado. Lisa’s presence, a fluke in Steve’s perfect world of numbers and design perfection, and the characters who surround her are essential in deconstructing this larger than life character. In each moment, Mike Sculley, Steve Wozniak and Joanna Hoffman tear and hack away at the perfect wall Steve has built around himself. They criticize, dress him down, chip away at all of his achievements to expose him as flawed man with a huge god and messianic complex. By the end of the film, it is Lisa’s presence that finally exposes the humanity in Steve and despite everything he is a human with deep understanding of what people want.
By the end of the film, Steve Jobs isn’t a biopic of the man behind Apple and all its amazing products, but it is a story of the people who have put up with him. People who shared his vision but just couldn’t keep up with his intensity, brilliance, and ambition.