I’m a dedicated iPhone user, I still use my old school iPod Classic everyday and I have iPad that’s about four years old. But that’s about as far as Apple loyalty goes. My computer is a PC and I’ve never been inspired to watch a single second of an Apple product launch online, let alone line up outside one of their shops for hours just so I can have a new phone a day before other people. My perplexion over people’s dedication to this brand is only surpassed by my perplexion over people’s dedication to the man behind it, Steve Jobs. So I was glad to see that someone had made a documentary attempting to explain that dedication, with Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine.
Opening with a montage of webcam eulogies from people around the time of Jobs’ death, director Alex Gibney’s voiceover sets up the thesis of this movie; Why did people care so much for a man they never even met? The movie then launches into a biography of the man, from his adolescent days when he first discovered his love for computers, to the fledgling beginnings of Apple with co-founder Steve Wozniak. There’s the meteoric rise of Apple, Jobs’ sacking from the company he helped build, and his triumphant return, when putting the letter “ï” before things changed the world as we know it.
And all along the way, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine lets us know that its subject, was kind of a prick. A not so good husband and father, a bit of an egomaniac, the kind of guy who replies to an email about a low level person at another company being sacked with nothing more than a smiley face emoticon. It reminds us that he was the guy who put an end to all the philanthropic work done by Apple, while Bill Gates was giving away literally billions of dollars to charity.
I never bothered with the Ashton Kutcher Steve Jobs movie. And any interest I have in seeing the upcoming Jobs is more about the involvement of Danny Boyle and Michael Fassbender than it is about the movie’s subject. But seeing Jobs exposed so warts and all in the cold light of a documentary, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine made his story so much more fascinating than I ever imagined it could be.
Gibney’s second documentary of 2015, this is a follow up to Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. That’s a pretty ballsy move. In 2015, you’d be hard pressed to find a cult filled with more irrationally sycophantic followers than Scientology and Apple. Maybe Gibney has a death wish, because if he showed up dead one day, I have no doubt the killer would be a member of at least one of those churches.