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Film review: Steve Jobs - Danny Boyle’s biopic of Apple genius a game-changer

This warts-and-all portrait of the tech pioneer - a double winner at the Golden Globes is unquestionably the best-written movie of the year. Fassbender is superb as Jobs in a film that’s a throwback to when dialogue was king

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 January, 2016, 11:08am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 January, 2016, 2:09pm

Danny Boyle’s film about Apple genius Steve Jobs flopped when it was released in the United States, which almost defies belief. Revitalising the tired notion of a biopic, this three-act miracle is unquestionably the best-written movie of the past year. Scripted by The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin – for which he won best screenplay at the Golden Globes – that should come as no surprise. But even by Sorkin’s high standards, this is a game-changer – a film fizzing with verbal jousts that makes being a tech pioneer feel life or death.

Michael Fassbender is supreme as Jobs, the single-minded visionary who changed the way we communicate. Yet this is no Apple promo, with Sorkin delivering a warts-and-all picture of its anti-hero, whether it’s shunning colleagues or even his own daughter. The writer has been here before, with his script for Facebook drama The Social Network – but that feels like a mere warm-up for Steve Jobs.

SEE ALSO: Steve Jobs was ‘flawed and damaged’, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin says of his latest subject

With each act set on the eve of a key product launch, beginning with the 1984 unveiling of the Apple Macintosh computer, Jobs is seen backstage arguing, cajoling and debating with the same six people – including co-founder Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) and marketing head Joanna Hoffman, whose portrayal by Kate Winslet earned the actress a Golden Globe for best supporting actress.

A throwback to the days when dialogue was king, it’s exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure, but Boyle’s expert pacing and Daniel Pemberton’s buzzy score keep the tempo high. In the end, it’s a chrome-plated character study – a man who strove to create beautiful things who, by his own admission, is “poorly made”. The Hollywood biopic will never be the same again.

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Steve Jobs opens on January 14