<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Joshua Michael Stern. Starring Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, Matthew Modine, JK Simmons, Lesley Ann Warren, Ron Eldard, John Getz, Kevin Dunn
JOBS is one of the worst films I’ve seen in a long time. Not because it’s gotten the story of Apple founder and legendary genius Steve Jobs wrong but because I’ve seen student films with better scripts, editing and coherence than this movie.
Whether you’re a fan of Apple or not – and yes I know there are plenty of haters out there, all with their own reasons – you cannot deny that this is a company that has revolutionised technology and design on the planet. Apart from being the most valuable company in the world in 2012 (but has since lost that position), Apple is one of the few brands that can still claim a truly cult following. Not because these people want to be seen with an Apple product, like most of the women sporting LV bags nowadays, but because they truly believe in the genuine brilliance of these devices.
I have read the book that came out after Steve Jobs passed away in 2011 (at the age of 56). He died because of a pancreas neuroendocrine tumour. The book titled simply ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson is thorough and meticulous. That’s because Steve Jobs collaborated on it with his friend, the author, with the knowledge that this may be his only chance to tell his tale to the world before his inevitable death. It’s an honest and unbiased account of this man with an ‘attitude’ who pissed off Bill Gates, his best friends and his employees all the time but always managed to retain their respect or reverence for him.
Why so much preamble about the book and the man? Because you’ll get nothing from this film that will enlighten you or educate you or entertain you. It’s a vacuous piece of shit, as Steve probably would have said had he been alive to see it. “Send it back to the filmmaker. Better still, sack the bastard. I’ll do it myself!” he’d probably say. And he’d be right.
JOBS is simply a series of scenes – moments that the filmmakers thought were milestones in his life – strung together in the hope that it will elicit some awe and wonderment. It does not. Unless you’ve read the biography or you’re an Apple fan who knows a bit about the history of the company and its founder, you will be utterly lost. They don’t bother to connect any dots, give you any background about plot points that they’ll just drop and then move on. They assume you know about Steve Jobs’ weird eating habits, his women and children, his penchant for minimalism in his home, his preference for walking barefoot and simply walking rather than driving. They’ve skipped out huge chunks of his life and momentous achievements. Using montages with music they try to capture whole periods of time.
Even the scenes depicting his well-known anger and utter dominance fall flat because of the muddled script (Matt Whiteley) and weak dialogue. Ashton Kutcher is way too young even in the young Jobs bits to play this character. He’s a good actor, and manages to capture the gait, look and mannerisms of Steve Jobs but it’s all so superficial that he never gets more than skin deep with the icon.
One or two scenes may stand out: like the one between Steve and design engineer Jonathan Ive who went on to become Senior Vice President of Design at Apple Inc. But there’s not enough of creation. Just frustration. And Steve Jobs was more than that. For the people who dislike him they must read the book and watch videos of the man. There’s this one at a Town Hall meeting where Jobs speaks to officials who sit atop a podium about giving his company tax benefits so that he can keep his company and the billions of dollars it provides to the economy in the area. They look down upon him with veneration and awe. Watch the video here:
Apple fans will be disappointed with this film. But regular viewers will simply be bored stiff. They won’t know what’s going on, they won’t know any background to the scenes where the makers just assume you should figure it out. And of course JOBS isn’t all accurate, as Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak will tell you. See this interesting interview:
So well there you have it. No he wasn’t a great human being, but he was a visionary who ultimately learnt from some of his mistakes and failures and went on to save his company from financial ruin and make it the biggest brand in the world. Yes people are jealous if you own an iPhone or an iMac (I only own an iMac and an iPod just in case you’re going to call me biased). They’re jealous that you have the greatest after sales service. They may watch JOBS and say, “See, he was such a horrible man,” but they’d be just as misinformed and erroneous as the film.
PS: Don’t even bother with this movie because apparently veteran (and Academy Award-winning) writer of The West Wing and The Social Network will be making a Steve Jobs movie soon. The Woz is collaborating to get the facts right and it’ll just comprise three momentous scenes. Read this interview about ‘Aaron Sorkin Reveals Steve Jobs Movie Details.’ So go watch Kick-Ass 2 or PLANES instead.
Or you could watch this video with the intelligent and talented Aaron Sorkin talking about his upcoming production: