Direction: Joshua Michael Stern
Actors: Ashton Kutcher, Josh Gad
This old-fashioned biopic about the late Steve Jobs chronicles the rise and fall and rise again of the high tech icon who co-founded Apple Inc. The dramatization first establishes an ageing Jobs unveiling the company’s all-new iPod at a staff meeting in 2001. In flash backs, the plot distills pivotal moments in the techie’s career from his humble beginnings working in his parents’ garage to the formation of the corporate behemoth which heralded a revolution in the computer industry.
Restricting his career arc to three decades from 1970 to 2000, the narrative ignores some crucial events in Jobs’s latter years including the illness which led to his untimely death. As a young barefoot rebel, Jobs ingested hallucinogenic drugs, dropped out of college and embarked on a trip to India to seek spiritual solace. Unfortunately, the New Delhi/Varanasi interludes, shot by Aseem Bajaj, are barely accorded a couple of minutes screen time.
Throughout Jobs is depicted as a detail-obsessed visionary. Yet he is also constantly bogged down in petty conflicts and beset by personal demons. He bullies his business associates, dismisses loyal employees and shouts a lot, even at longtime rival Bill Gates.
For years he refused to acknowledge the daughter whom he fathered demanding instead that the mothe take care of the ‘problem’ on her own. A decade after his ouster from the company, Jobs returned to transform Apple’s flagging fortunes. Once again he ignored the feelings of the people around him while perfecting a range of paradigm-shifting new devices.
The film is dressed up in handsome production design and boasts a period-specific music score including snatches of tunes by Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens. Ashton Kutcher portrays Jobs with conviction. Josh Gad as his whiz-kid collaborator and Matthew Modine as the former vice-president of PepsiCo, handle their roles with aplomb. Neither great nor ghastly, the warts and all account of the titular titan, merits a viewing.