October 24, 2015 at 12:16AM
Blending the Truth: Fact and Fiction in ‘Steve Jobs’ Glenn McDonald October 23, 2015
As a specimen of pop culture entertainment, director Danny Boyle’s biopic Steve Jobs — opening nationally on Friday — is one of the finest films of the year. Michael Fassbender is incandescent in the title role, portraying the Apple co-founder as a high-voltage visionary whose spitting, sparking genius is matched only by his capacity for arrogant cruelty.
But be aware that the audacious script, densely packed with screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s rapid-fire dialogue, plays fast and very loose with the facts. Sorkin himself has asserted that the film isn’t designed to be a traditional biopic. It’s more like an impressionist portrait painted with bold, lurid colors. And it’s not a flattering portrait, either.
As he demonstrated in The Social Network, Sorkin is a pitiless engineer when it comes to streamlining his scripts for narrative torque. The Steve Jobs story is an engine built for drama: No genuine effort is made to present Jobs as a fully formed character, and actual history is rewritten when required. Click the link below for five key moments to watch for in the film, and the real stories behind them. (Warning: Spoilers dead ahead.)