Steve Jobs: Man in the Machine first look review – Apple founder's sour sideMaybe I will have to watch the movie. The man did have his flaws, but does this movie really concentrate on an ex-girlfriend badmouthing him for lacking empathy?
4 / 5 stars
Alex Gibney portrays Steve Jobs as a modern-day Citizen Kane, a man with dazzling talent and monomaniacal focus, but utterly lacking in empathy
Having tackled the Scientologists in his most recent film Going Clear, documentary maker Alex Gibney takes on a cult that is even more ardent, and with considerably more members – that of Apple. His unsparing portrait of Steve Jobs will prove extremely displeasing to devotees, but it’s a riveting and important corrective to the myths Jobs helped to propagate, ...
The film points out that Jobs’s genius was in personalising computers – Lisa being the first – but it also reveals that this impulse came from a pretty messed-up place. As well as being deeply ambivalent about being a father, Jobs also felt at once rejected and anointed by the fact that he was adopted. Jobs has somehow transmitted that mess to us too. Our iPhones connect us to faraway friends and family, yet we spend increasing amounts of time alone with them, seduced by machines that can never really fulfil us.
Gibney’s film concludes that Jobs had the monomaniacal focus of a monk but none of the empathy of one, and it makes a powerful case. Jobs’s was an astonishing life of such significance that it will probably be studied for centuries, and Gibney does not downplay his genius. Yet the kernel of the film is probably the ex-girlfriend who says that Job “blew it”. How so? Jobs achieved things that the vast majority of us would never dream of. Yet Gibney’s film forensically anatomises the contradictions, the ruthlessness, and the pointlessly crappy behaviour that reveal Apple’s ideals to be a sham, even while the products themselves continue to prove almost irresistible.
I have previously noted that powerful people lack empathy, and even Pres. Obama is mocked for lacking empathy.