Plot: Steve Jobs fails, fails again, and then succeeds, all while pissing everybody off with his natural charms.
I enjoyed the structure of this biopic. I'm not a huge fan of the genre anyway, but I'm not sure the world needed another biographical look at Steve Jobs. I actually didn't see the one from a couple years ago with Ashton Kutcher. This doesn't cover the life of Steve Jobs. Instead, it looks at three key moments in his career, showing the pre-showtime happenings of three big product releases. Fassbinder kind of plays Jobs like a rock star, and there's something vibrant about how everything swirls around him. This is all about a complex (and probably completely unlikable) human being standing face-to-face with crises both personal and professional. The performances and general flow of the story could almost convince somebody that this is archival footage, but even with a documentary-feel, you still get such an intimate look at the man at the center of things. And it's that naturalistic character study, the way the story penetrates the psyche of a man who seems like he wanted to be impenetrable, that really makes this powerful.
Fassbender, Winslet, Daniels, and the actors and actresses playing the auxiliary characters are all really good, but this one's all about the writing. You'd know this was an Aaron Sorkin screenplay without being told that going in. It's intelligent and wordy, and there's a great mix of humor and conflict. The way Sorkin uses these three moments to show so many dimensions of the character and fill in all these gaps about Jobs' past, his present, and his future is sublime. It's nothing you really think about while watching the movie, but afterward, you're surprised at how real this character became as you watched him wrestle with his demons, demean people, display his arrogance, and demean his arrogant demons. The whole thing seems so effortless. It's the type of flashy writing where it almost feels like Sorkin's screaming "Hey! Look at me!" was all over it, but it drove the movie without really standing out as unrealistic movie dialogue. It was flashy without being flashy, if that makes any sense. Sorkin and Fassbinder create a subject that is difficult to like, but at the same time, you feel that you know the character so well that it's impossible not to like him.
Great writing, a unique biopic structure, and solid performances made this a movie that I liked a whole lot more than I thought I would.