Review of 'Steve Jobs - The Man in the Machine'

steve_jobs_the_man_in_the_machine.jpg After Steve Jobs passed away in 2011 there was an incredible outpouring of emotion by Apple fans. In “The Man in the Machine” Alex Gibney asks why Jobs, a businessman and, generally ruthless and unlovable person elicit such a reaction? Over the course of the film he takes us through Jobs' life often concentrating on the more…difficult…aspects of his character including the denial of his parentage of his first child. This is not a flattering picture and this film pulls no punches.

Since his passing much has been said of Steve Jobs including his biography and two films, Steve Jobs (starring Ashton Kutcher) not to be confused with Steve Jobs (staring Michael Fassbender) but all of these, on the whole, have chosen to lessen the negative aspects of Jobs' character. “The Man in the Machine” does no such thing and while tipping the balance it seems it goes too far to the negative and skips the positive providing an unequal and deceptive view of the man. Having said that, the interviews and material presented here is quite exhaustive and provide a really comprehensive view of Steve Jobs' life in the computer industry. Archival images of Steve Woz (co-founder of Apple) talking of the joy of starting Apple but also of his betrayal by Jobs in later years. We hear from co-workers how Jobs would regularly demean and belittle people who disagreed with him. It seems this was not a fun man to be around though there is absolutely no question how he helped reshape the modern world.

The contention here is that Steve Jobs' fascination with Buddhism for it's calm serenity did not include taking on board it's compassion for others which is quite an interesting contradiction. Minimalism and ease of use in what he was responsible for delivering yet in a cold and somewhat sterile manner…sure the products were fun and great to look at, causing many enthusiastic fans to take them into their heart, but never really seem to have any sort of humanity. The film asks us to think about the technology and not only what it does for and to us but also what it takes from us in return and perhaps this technology is a reflection of the person who spearheaded it's creation.

Perhaps a bit on the negative side but provides an interesting perspective onto a man who is often revered and the technology he helped bring into being.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2020-07-26

Directed by: Alex Gibney

Studio: CNN Films

Year: 2015

Length: 128 minutes

Genre: Documentary