Jobs: Underwhelming Biopic of Legendary Tech-Guru
Ashton KutcherDermot Mulroney...
Joshua Michael Stern
As the co-founder and the driving force behind what is one of the most recognisable brands in the world, there’s little doubt about the impact that Steve Jobs has had on contemporary culture as the face of Apple.
From director Joshua Michael Stern, Jobs is the first biopic to emerge since the tech-guru’s death and is regretfully not as ambitious, nor as memorable, as the man himself.
Taking us back to the very beginning, Jobs starts off in 1974, portraying Steve Jobs (Kutcher) as a young student who enjoys walking barefoot around campus, popping in and out of classes as he pleases. He spends most of his days smoking weed and dropping acid with best-bud, Daniel Kottke (Haas), and girlfriend, Chris-Ann (O’Reilly), before heading out on a spiritual journey to India, for some much needed inspiration.
Two years later, Jobs finds himself working in the creative department of Atari, with his relentless drive for perfection causing havoc amongst staff. As he embarks on a new game project, Jobs calls on close friend and tech-wiz, Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak (Gad), for help. Things soon take a turn when Steve feasts his eyes on a prototype computer that Woz has been working on. It’s from this point that Jobs, alongside pals Daniel, Bill Fernandez (Rasuk), Rod Holt (Eldard) and Chris Espinoza (Hassell), sow the seeds of Apple.
Jobs makes one thing very clear; the ‘Father of the Digital Revolution’ was not a particularly nice, or even friendly, man. Alienating himself from both friends and family, it’s difficult to have any sympathy for, or even make an emotional connection to, the character who we all thought we knew so well.
In taking on the lead role, Kutcher was always going to be under scrutiny, and although he manages to master Jobs’ walk and other trademark gestures, he shows little variation and fails to bring any humanity to the role. One noteworthy performance, however, comes courtesy of Gad, who steals the show as Jobs’ pal, Woz; in some ways, he is presented as the ying to Jobs’ yang.
Unfortunately, the script eliminates a large chunk of Jobs’ life, leaving a lot of questions unanswered. The film’s attempt to squeeze twenty-five years of storytelling into just under two hours proves impossible and adds up to a very rushed piece of work. Whizzing from one era to another, no part of the plot is onscreen long enough to have any real impact or provide much insight.
Biopics often make it difficult to tell apart truth from fiction, as is the case with Jobs. Considering that this is the story of a man who always strived for perfection, the late Steve Jobs would probably have a few things to say about the final product.