Francesca Rudkin

Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: Jobs

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Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in Jobs.
Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in Jobs.

Everyone knows Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was a visionary, an ambitious entrepreneur and marketing genius. What made Jobs even more interesting was his personality quirks, which have become the stuff of Silicon Valley legend.

Director Joshua Michael Stern touches on all parts of Jobs in this, the first of two biopics of the man - Aaron Sorkin has one in the works too. This follows Jobs from his mid-70s college days in Portland, Oregon, to the 2001 launch of the iPod.

It's a solid effort, at the very least conveying a feel for the man behind the brand. If, like me, you've slogged through Walter Isaacson's hefty Steve Jobs biography there is little new - it's more a checklist of all Jobs personality tics and milestone moments.

It's a lengthy list ranging from personal eccentricities such as being an occasional fruitarian and refusing to use deodorant or wear shoes, to being a demanding and difficult bully with a cut-throat business sense.

Stern doesn't shy from Jobs' uglier side and we watch him kick his pregnant girlfriend out of their flat and refuse to have anything to do with his daughter - although she turns up briefly later in the film as a teenager staying with Jobs and his new family, as if to tidy up that nasty little episode.

There is the to-be-expected sentimental fawning over Jobs' talents as a visionary; the man who recognised how personal computers change our lives, the need for gadgets to be intuitive and the importance of form and function.

Ashton Kutcher (pictured below) does a fair job bringing a non-conventional character to life in a conventional biography. Like Stern, he's happy to tackle Jobs' prickly personality and isn't too concerned with the need for him to be likeable. The only glitch is the amateurish, exaggerated mimicking of Jobs' distinctive gait which, while proving he can walk like the man, doesn't make him the man.

And that's what's missing overall. The script and performance focus on how Jobs looked when he was ticking, rather that on what made him tick. If you haven't read the biography then save time and watch the movie - it's a great overview.

But those more familiar with this remarkable figure will find the film lacks the depth and complexity of the real Jobs.

Stars: 3/5
Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Josh Gad, Dermot Mulroney
Director: Joshua Michael Stern
Running Time: 127 mins
Rating: M (offensive language and drug references)
Verdict: A standard, solid but hardly insightful biopic

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