For those familiar with the 1999 TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, which is a brilliantly spirited account on how Steve Jobs and Bill Gates built their respective companies Apple and Microsoft, a biopic about Jobs will need something very special to stand out. That is to say, I expected new ground to be covered and an even more in-depth examination of Jobs' remarkable character and inner drive when another film was to be made about him. My objection to Jobs - a constantly interesting and engaging film - is therefore simply that it is too predictable and straight-forward. It is well-made, well-acted and moves forward nicely, but Steve Jobs and his story is so well known and documented, with the aforementioned Pirates of Silicon Valley included in that body of material, that it takes more than a few extra details and a well-prepared lead actor to lift a biopic about him to a level of lasting relevance.
That being said, Ashton Kutcher's performance is both fun and inspiring. Granted, it is based first and foremostly on copying the late visionary's gestures and movements, almost to the point of caricature, but the performance has drive and a sense of humour. The same can largely be said about the film as well. Joshua Michael Stern's workmanlike direction allows us to experience Jobs' many ups and downs as Apple develops from a hobby project in a garage into the world's most innovative and successful computer company before falling into decline towards the end of the 1980s.
What is a bit disappointing, however, is that there is precious little material from the final ten years of Jobs' life, the inclusion of which could have made Jobs stand out in comparison with Pirates of Silicon Valley. Because on the whole, the 1999 film remains a more spirited and fun rendition of those defining years for the home computer business. And Noah Wyle's version of Steve Jobs remains the pick for me, if for no other reason that it has more heart.