If there's anything you can say about an Aaron Sorkin movie, it's that you want to watch it again.
In 2010, Aaron Sorkin wrote The Social Network. It became one of my favorite films of all time, and I've watched that movie more times than I can count. It is Aaron Sorkin's movie. He breaks the trend of thinking of a movie as a director's film. He makes his movies his own. David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Zodiac, basically some fantastic films) directed the Social Network, but it is Aaron Sorkin's movie.
Now, Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 127 Hours, Slumdog Millionare, more fantastic movies) is the director of Steve Jobs, and this is Aaron Sorkin's movie. We recognize Aaron Sorkin's snappy dialogue, from smart person to smart person, cinematic as hell, and fast as hell. That's the problem. Aaron Sorkin is too smart for us simple-minded buffoons. I understand The Social Network because I've seen it so much, but in one viewing, you're not gonna take away every single witty snap, every single fantastic line. My first viewing confused me quite a bit. I'm scared to start the West Wing because I don't want to rewatch 155 hour-long episodes. And Steve Jobs, while certainly a good movie, is a movie I will remember and like even more on a second viewing (or fifth).
Steve Jobs has an all-star cast behind it, and they all do wonderful. I can't think of anyone that did a bad job. Michael Fassbender is great as Steve Jobs, despite the difference in looks. Seth Rogen, playing Steve Wozniak, is very different in this movie, and the subtleties he adds to his role are great. (for example, pushing up his glasses quite a bit throughout the movie, as if to say he is insecure.) I also was impressed with the child actors in the movie, who are good but more notably don't stand out as bad. There isn't really one actor that stood out to me, though, because everyone was great.
One thing that irked me throughout the movie was the soundtrack. Instead of the classic orchestra feel, like most movies, the movie has a techno and electronic vibe to it. Because it's about smart people who make technology. This has become a mini-cliche for me. It can be done right (The Social Network comes to my mind again, even winning the Oscar for best original score) but just because it's about people who make technology doesn't mean it has to have an electronic feel. In fact, it might have been interesting to go for an orchestral score, what with the orchestral metaphor of Steve Jobs saying “musicians play their instruments. I play the orchestra.”
Overall, it's hard for me to criticize Steve Jobs, but it's also difficult to praise it. I like the movie and certainly thought it was good, but at most points it breaks the golden rule of movies (and writing); show, don't tell. Most of what we learn is what we hear; instead of seeing Steve Jobs look through 30-something pictures of sharks to choose one for his presentation, we hear it said. Instead of us seeing why Jobs possibly is the way he is, we hear it. Instead of seeing Jobs do all the stuff we're gonna remember him for, we hear it. You could say this is an Aaron Sorkin trend; dialogue over visual; yet in the Social Network it feels a lot more subtle in both dialogue and visual. It lets us see these people and who they are, instead of telling us. And ultimately, that's the problem with Steve Jobs. But, as I said in the beginning, I'm gonna come back praising this movie after I see it again. And I want to see it again.