Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine Blu-ray Review
We all know someone that owns an iPhone or we may be that person that owns the iPhone. The same can be set for almost any Apple product now. For some, it’s a point of conversation, whether it’s to share one’s love for the product or the 21st century fight of PC vs. Mac. For me, I could care less. I’ve used both and I prefer PC, but I don’t have this adamant hate or adoration that sometimes comes with the contemporary debate. The man behind Apple and its ensuing followers, Steve Jobs, is the subject of the latest Alex Gibney documentary.
Gibney is no stranger to documentaries, good ones and controversial ones. ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM and WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS are just a few out of his impressive catalogue. His latest is sure to enrage the Apple die-hards and feed the Apple-hating fire that PC owners find themselves sitting around. But at STEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE’s core is what makes Gibney’s documentaries great, investigative journalism.
Blending old interviews with new interviews, Gibney attempts to paint a broad picture of the complicated man at Apple. He begins with Jobs’ early beginning, betrayals and successes. He swiftly moves from the David vs. Goliath story of Apple’s start-up to Goliath vs. David. STEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE compacts a lot of information in a short amount of time, and for the most part, succeeds. It may be the unnecessary attempt at character assassination that impedes this movies overall theme and message.
There are a couple of damning moments where a past girlfriend and co-workers talk about how Jobs was a nightmare to deal with. They all can agree that he got intoxicated off the chaos he created and lived in. From being in control, he seems to have reached some form of spiritual nirvana. Gibney attaches this personal life melodrama to the way he ran Apple, with an iron fist. It’s slightly believable that Jobs was drunk with power when Apple took hold of the technological industry. But it’s too over the top to connect Jobs treatment of his ex-girlfriends to his concerns about his company’s bottom line profit margin.
When STEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE dives straight into Apple’s re-birth and conquest of the digital landscape, we get into the meaty allure of Gibney. At time it’s like watching a detective unravel a string of lies and at other times it’s like a dissection of how someone got away with murder. Of course to break up the negative nature of the film, we see many uplifting moments. It’s a good palate cleanser to see fans rejoicing over the latest product and the jubilation of seeing a CEO, after being issued a medical death sentence, take the stage like he’s ready to live out the rest of his life with the products he loves.
Gibney has a vested interest in Steve Jobs and he doesn’t shy away from it. He narrates the movie and tells the viewer up front that everything we watch was spurred from the idea that the public mourned the loss of him. Gibney admits bewilderment when he saw people with tears streaming down their face when Jobs passed away back in 2011. Gibney uses that as a reason to delve into Jobs, but it seems more like a vague excuse for what some may view as a hit piece.
But I’m willing to give Gibney the benefit of the doubt, especially after his dealings with corrupt CEOs. Regardless, there’s no denying the impact Steve Jobs had, negative and positive. A sappy movie may give a man with personal demons to much credit while a movie highlighting those demons might be considered yellow journalism. STEVE JOBS: MAN IN THE MACHINE almost strikes a perfect balance of vilifying and praising Jobs for his work.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1:85:1) Fresh interview tape and B-roll footage comes through clearly, but archival material as well as foreign material is a bit grainy.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is wonderful, but the sound for this documentary isn’t memorable or powerful enough to guide the viewer’s ears towards anything meaningful.
Deleted Scenes (31:13): Rarely do you see deleted scenes for a documentary. There are 11 scenes altogether. Most of these are removed interviews, with the most interesting one being Richard Stallman. He’s the founder of the Free Software Foundation and is clearly an anti-Jobs person with a very interesting, albeit conspiracy oriented, view of Jobs
Interview with Director Alex Gibney (9:55): It’s not really an interview, more than it’s an edited down feature where Gibney discusses the motivation and drive behind the movie, as well as the themes he had hoped to touch on his movie.