`Jobs` review: A job incomplete!

Film: ‘Jobs’; Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, Matthew Modine, J.K. Simmons, Lesley Ann Warren, Ron Eldard, Ahna O`Reilly, Victor Rasuk and John Getz; Director: Joshua Michael Stern

Steven Jobs, the late CEO and co-founder of Apple, was a fascinating man. His personal and professional life had elements intriguing and enchanting, thus making his story inspirational and motivating.

The film ‘Jobs’ attempts to demystify this genius starting from the myth and working its way back, showing the hard work and heartbreak that he endured. The narration begins in 2001, with a frail and lanky Jobs moving with an awkward gait on the podium. He delivers a straight-faced speech and with diffused drama, puts his hand into his pocket to unveil an instrument that can hold 1000 songs, the Apple iPod. The gathered crowd applauds and the narration slips into a flashback - 1974, Reed College.

Scenes that follow captures the life of Jobs; as a disinterested college drop-out, his angst and ecstasy, his travels to spiritual India, his frustrations at his first job at Atari, his trials and tribulations as a start-up founder, his negotiation and people`s skill and the most important aspect of his life - his creative aspirations.

A strict dissuader of `me-too products`, he was able to entice people with his creations. The film shows how Jobs pushes himself and his team to challenge naysayers. What comes out very well in the film is his mantra: "How do you know that someone does not want it if they have not seen it."

Apart from Ashton Kutcher as Jobs, the only other characters who leaves an impression are Jos Gad as Steve Wozniak, the stubby unkempt tech-savvy friend who endearingly helps Jobs set up the enterprise and Dermot Mulroney as Mike Markkula, the millionaire investor with whose financial support Apple bloomed.

Ashton Kutcher with his wire-rim glasses, dark short hair and salt-and-pepper beard resembles the bold, free-thinking Steve Jobs. He oscillates between two `Jobs` moods; quiet and mysterious or loud and ruthless rebuking anyone hindering his vision. Ashton outshines himself as an actor, but unfortunately does not fit into Jobs` boots perfectly. He falters at times not because he is bad, but because the script is too sketchy.

Writer Matt Whiteley`s script does not give him much scope to perform. The screenplay ticks off events like a checklist and only skims the subject. It does not reflect the finer nuances of Jobs`s life. His romance and marriage, his relationship with his adoptive parents, the birth of his children, and his reconciliation with his estranged first daughter -- all happen off screen. The transition of Jobs as a go-getter to a family man is missed.

Unfortunately, the film "Jobs" seems to be a tribute sponsored by Apple for director Joshua Michael Stern`s biopic only focuses on how Jobs rises, falls and gets reinstated as the CEO of Apple. Designed in a documentary style, there are no wow moments. The graph of the narration plateaus and the film ends abruptly leaving you disappointed.

While Steve Jobs is iconic and firmly rooted in public memory, the film "Jobs" is far from being inspirational and motivating. It will fade from public memory sooner than later.

Troy Ribeiro/IANS