Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac.
In his signature black turtleneck and blue jeans, shrouded in shadows below a milky apple, Steve Jobs' image was ubiquitous. But who was the man on the stage? What accounted for the grief of so many across the world when he died? From Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney, 'Steve Jobs: The Man In The Machine' is a critical examination of Jobs who was at once revered as an iconoclastic genius and a barbed-tongued tyrant. A candid look at Jobs' legacy featuring interviews with a handful of those close to him at different stages in his life, the film is evocative and nuanced in capturing the essence of the Apple legend and his values which shape the culture of Silicon Valley to this day.Written by
Apple senior executive Eddy Cue was quick to express his disappointment in this documentary, describing the film on Twitter as "an inaccurate and mean-spirited view of my friend" and "not a reflection of the Steve I knew." See more »
Why do so many care so deeply about someone they've never met that they could be moved to tears at a drop of a candlelight vigil? This becomes the entry point to a documentary that seems to neither really attempt to answer the question nor offer any new insight into Steve Jobs.
People probably become strongly connected with things because they bring them so much joy, opening a virtual font into self-expression. And in many ways they/we are perhaps weeping for the countless memories that are washing over us, of the realization of who we are and who we can still be. And perhaps also, a genuine and deep human bond for someone responsible for so much happiness and influence in our lives. There are millions of examples across millions of products and people, originating sometimes in far less than the saints that poster our walls and have witnessed the millionth profundity of our inspiration.
During the first hour of this documentary I was engaged and hopeful for where it might be taking me, despite my concerns that we were heading towards the ditch. But by the second hour I started getting whacked hard about the face and head with little more than darkened conspiracies where people in ever-increasing simplicities of slow motion are backed by foreboding music tuned to the binary depth of a political smear.
We all deserve far greater depth. We are all so vastly more layered, complex, and informed.
Why weren't more people let into the story? It's as if this film were constructed by the comments found on the Internet — with little debate from people who might be able to offer an alternative to their merits — before being pasted together to form the collage its maker perhaps saw in their head before they even secured the financing needed to deal with their own feelings of guilt.
This is the same documentary filmmaker who thrilled me with his take on "Scientology." I'm now traumatized enough by this film on Steve Jobs that I'm seriously doubting my love for something that I know far less.
But perhaps I'm being too hard on myself.
The cult template seems to be fully present here but Steve Jobs is light years from L. Ron Hubbard and Apple is definitely no Church of Scientology no matter how many examples of superficiality and stupidity one can find waiting in line. And corporations are not evil, cynically existing only to please stockholders; they are part of what allows us to live and love, employing millions of good, hardworking people who are always there by choice. And despite its constant presence, there is no mystery here beyond why so many of us reserve such a broad brush for those who hold opinions different from our own.
Shown quite beautifully in the opening of this film, Steve Jobs makes himself so sick before his first national TV spot that he pleads for a restroom where he can throw up. Now there's a starting point that could end up offering the wisdom and multiplicity needed to command the hairs to stand on the back of our dead skin.
3 out of 10
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