The curtain closer at Sundance provides an overly reverential and saccharine view of a complex man possessed by ambition
Barely a year has passed since Steve Jobs died, aged 56, yet here we have the first of two biopics, completed in the nick of time, to close this year's Sundance film festival.
Director Joshua Michael Stern, working with first-time feature screenwriter Matt Whiteley, has his work cut out for him, given that it's an Aaron Sorkin-scripted flick that's to follow. No doubt wary of the fact, Stern opts to focus on arguably the most pivotal period in Jobs's life, from the time he dropped out of college and created Apple computers in his parents' garage, to the moment where the iPhone is poised to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world.
Casting a figure of such immense social and cultural import was never going to be easy. Kudos, then, to Ashton Kutcher who, while hardly topping film-makers's wish lists, delivers a surprisingly effective turn as the man, down to his awkwardly hunched posture. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to Jobs, Kutcher even emulates his voice, to some degree. The problem with Stern's film isn't his leading man, then, as many would have expected, but rather everything around him.
For a man whose singular vision alienated many - a point illustrated by Kutcher's straight-talking, temper-riddled reading of Jobs - those closest to him are barely given time to voice their concerns, let along develop as characters. Jobs's Apple co-founder, self-taught software whizz Steve "Woz" Wozniak (Josh Gad), already a vocal critic of the film, is presented as a mere backdrop. We learn little about Woz: where he came from, how he met Jobs, or what happened after he quit Apple, dissatisfied with the direction in which the company was heading.
Equally, the supporting players, including ex-Intel engineer Mike Markkula (Dermot Mulroney) and one-time Apple CEO John Sculley (Matthew Modine), are there to be sounding boards for Jobs's tirades, nothing more.
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SOURCE: The Guardian