SFF 2015 Review: Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine (2015)

A new documentary covers some familiar ground, and still ends with the same question it poses.

What could possible be said about Apple founder Steve Jobs that hasn’t already be said? Having put himself in the spotlight for most of his professional life, and being the subject of emotive documentaries and features like Jobs since his death in 2011, the technology guru’s biography is almost as ubiquitous as the products his company produces. Which is where documentarian Alex Gibney begins, with shots of fans around the world weeping over his monuments, pondering why there is such an emotional attachment to what is nothing more than a fashion-focused tech company. Via bountiful archive footage and original interviews, Gibney covers some familiar ground but attempts to uncover the personal side of the story. We are repeatedly reminded that this was the Jobs ethos: putting “us” into the picture. The film really starts digging into new meat when it focuses on the stock options scandals, the working conditions in China and discrepancies around the subject’s illness. Yet it somehow also loses some focus here, along with some of its editorial balance in some slightly mean-spirited lines of argument, before Gibney ultimately ends up with the same puzzle he began with. The question remains an apt one, with the cult of Apple continuing to this day, perhaps even stronger than ever. However, the subject remains elusive, and perhaps always will. Or maybe there really isn’t anything more to say.

2015 | US | Dir: Alex Gibney | Rating:★★★½ (7/10)