The CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, is painted in an ugly light in this month's bipoic JOBS. The genius, yet controlling man is portrayed masterfully by Aston Kutcher. The script itself, however, seems to get so selective with what it shows of the rise of Macintosh that it often skips important details of Jobs' success and personal life. The film is a powerful story, but in all is a flawed look at the life of a remarkable individual.
It was surprising to see such a harsh light cast on Steve Jobs in this film. At the beginning of the movie, Jobs makes mistakes that many young adults make. He cheats in relationships, is a bit of a slacker, and has a hard time facing any real responsibilities. As Steve ages, he becomes so power hungry that it destroys almost every single friendship and relationship he has. It is hard to feel bad for a man that is such an egomaniac.
That being said, the acting in the film is beyond phenomenal. This is Ashton Kutcher's best performance by far, and it would be surprising if the role did not score him an Oscar nomination. Josh Gad also deserves a Best Supporting nomination for his portrayal of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. The entire cast looks so much like the people they are claiming to be, as seen at the end of the movie in side by side shots. The makeup and costuming are outstanding. In fact, these elements are breathtaking from the very first moments of the film. The first scene is Jobs unveiling the iPod to his team back in 2001. This is the only time that we see a gray-haired Kutcher, as the rest of the film takes place between 1974 - 1996. He looks so much like Jobs did in the last few years of his life that it is actually a little unbelievable. However, you can easily break out of the magic if you look at Kutcher's hands, as the makeup team forgot to age them. Older Steve Jobs has hands as smooth and young as a baby's bottom.
Tiny errors like makeup mistakes are unfortunately not the only flaws in the film. The script choices are really odd. The writers obviously had to pick and choose which parts of Jobs' life to show, but at times they introduce things without fully explaining them. On one side of the spectrum, there is no background on how he knows Woz (Gad). He just shows up in his house one day asking him to fix something. For half the film, Woz is wearing a wedding band and for the other half his hand is naked, yet there is never any mention of a wife. On a much larger and much more frustrating scale of information jumps is Steve Jobs daughter, Lisa. At the start of the movie, Jobs will not claim his girlfriend's unborn daughter as his. This is never mentioned again until the end of the film when you see him telling his wife that he's going to go try to wake her up. You then briefly see a teenage version of Lisa. There is no explanation to when or why he decided to include this young woman in his life, or why she is living with him and a woman that is not her mother. This obviously had to happen sometime between 1984 and 1996, since the script skips that entire chunk of time. However, there had to be a reason this man finally decided to be her father, and it is a rather important detail that felt like it got cut on the editing floor.
There are also several montage scenes in the film that are directed weirdly. There is a really cool passage of time where the initial Apple team creates the keyboard for the first computer. However, there is also one in the beginning of the movie where Jobs and his friends do drugs and then end up in India. Yes, you read that correctly and that is exactly how much sense it made in the film, too. Some of the single shots are great though. There is one frame in the opening sequence where you see Jobs' reflection in the silver backing of the iPod classic that might give goosebumps to the technical nerds.
JOBS does a great job of delving deep into the life of a man that most people only know on a surface level. The film has some great acting, although the script is hard to follow at times. It will definitely be nominated for something and is absolutely worth checking out before awards season.