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STEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE (review)

600full-steve-jobs--the-man-in-the-machine-posterSTEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE

Directed by Alex Gibney
Chrisann Brennan: He didn’t know what connection was so he was part of the technology that connected the world.

Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney has, in the past decade, used his documentaries to take his audience inside infamous organizations such as Enron (2005’s ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM), the Catholic Church (2012’s MEA MAXIMA CULPA: SILENCE IN THE HOUSE OF GOD), and the Church of Scientology (2015’S GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF). Now, in STEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE, Gibney takes a hardcore look at not the corporation itself, but the individual behind Apple and some of our most treasured possessions.

It’s hard to imagine life without our iPods. Or iPhones. Or iPads. Or…you get the point. Steve Jobs cofounded a company that realized far-fetched dreams of convenience and accessibility and made the tools we get to carry around with us sleek and colourful. And when he passed away in 2011, the world mourned. Tears were shed, flowers laid and candles lit for a man whom millions of those grieving had never met.

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Those moments of grief marked the starting point for Gibney’s documentary. What was it about this man that made countless strangers exhibit such sorrow at his passing? Was he truly a good man tragically taken too soon? Or did it merely stem from blatant materialism on our parts and the sense that the iParty was coming to an end?

Through interviews with those closest to the tycoon (including childhood friend and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, technology advisor Regis McKenna, and Chrisann Brennan, Jobs’ ex-girlfriend and mother to his first child), archival footage and clips from Apple’s product launches, Gibney turns the man in the machine into the man under the microscope and examines him from a moral standpoint. Because, as is mostly common knowledge nowadays, Jobs was not a man above reproach. He was a bully, personally and professionally, cutting corners and shirking responsibilities to maximize his profit.

But the bigger question is, do those of us who weren’t in the direct line of fire really care? He gave us the ability to connect with each other while paradoxically losing a bit of our connection to reality. And we worshipped him for it.

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STEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE is (almost) as much a study of our society and fascination with (read: addiction to) technology, as it is an investigation of Jobs’ life. We’re continually plugged into cyberspace and tuned away from the flurry of day-to-day existence, checking out with the swipe of a finger and click of an icon. This is exactly what made Jobs the ultimate icon.

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One Comment

  1. It is too one sided.

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