In Review

Steve Jobs film: Michael Fassbender tipped for an Oscar

Fassbender dazzles critics in 'thrilling' Jobs biopic premiere – but is it just for Apple fetishists?

Michael Fassbender has set out his stall for a best actor Oscar as the new Steve Jobs biopic received its world premiere at Telluride Festival in the US.

Audiences were shown an early cut of the film, directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) from a script by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network). The final cut is expected to premiere at the New York Film Festival in October, reports the BBC

The film, simply titled Steve Jobs, co-stars Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels. It spans a 14-year period in Jobs's life between 1984 and 1998, focused around three seminal Apple product launches – the Apple Macintosh, the NeXT "Cube" and the iMac – while revealing Job's obsessive nature and his struggle for control of the Apple company. 

Fassbender has received rave reviews for his performance.

"He completely owns the screen," says Kristopher Tapley in Variety, despite his character being "very unlikeable throughout" the film. Sorkin also attracts praise for doing a "marvelous job of picking the right moments of this particular span of time and conveying them with smart and casual ease".

The film is "propulsively fast, fleet and inquisitive", says Todd McCarthy in the Hollywood Reporter, with heartbeat pacing and quasi-verite style that provides "a constant dramatic hum and you-are-there immediacy". The actors are "uniformly superb", and Fassbender "nails" the part despite his lack of visual similarity with the Apple CEO.

For Pete Hammond in Deadline Hollywood, Fassbender's perfomance is "dazzling" and the film itself is "an action movie driven almost exclusively by words".    

But The Guardian's Ben Lee sounds a rare note of criticism. While he admits that there is "undeniable craftsmanship" in Fassbender's "confident and transformative performance", the film itself is "aimed at the die-hard iPhone fetishists".

Sorkin's signature breakneck pace, frantic walk-and-talks and comfortably smug one-liners are "almost overwhelming" here, and while the film constantly informs you of just how incredibly important everything is, Lee found it "difficult to truly care about what's taking place".

If you're the sort of person who spent hours queuing up for the latest iPhone, "this might prove masturbatory", he says. But everyone else will remain a PC, and proudly so.

Steve Jobs will close the London Film Festival on 18 October.

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