Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

A fascinating dive into Steve’s success, his brilliance, his Machiavellianism.
Movie Review #1,016


TriStar Pictures
2 hours, 8 minutes
Rated R (some language)
Released September 4, 2015
Directed by Alex Gibney
Written by Alex Gibney

Steve Jobs was a genius. There’s no denying it. What was once an idea Jobs had in college based on his experience with blue boxes and phone phreaking, became what is now one of the biggest business superpowers known to man, and easily the most well-known. That’s impressive. But the man was also an arrogant asshole. A title like “The Man in the Machine” is telling. His public appearance was inviting and likable, but that’s as far as most knew of him. He was a master at succinct slogans and a wordsmith in public appearances. Even after his death, there’s still much talk about the slogan “Think Different”, as well as his 2004 commencement address at Stanford University. And yet, as director Alex Gibney reveals in his shocking documentary, this is the same man who claimed he was infertile in court to avoid the responsibility of parenthood; the same man who took 90% of Steve Wozniak’s share when they first created Breakout for Atari.

Almost every Alex Gibney documentary focuses on one theme: corruption, and its omnipotence in American icons. He’s covered Enron, Lance Armstrong, and many more in between. Individuals and businesses who have succeeded thanks to corrupt behavior, and later fallen due to the discovery of their corruption. “The Man in the Machine” is different. Gibney reveals that Jobs is neither the man we imagined him as, nor is he entirely corrupt. His methods and personality are pragmatic, but not corrupt. It’s worse because he gets away with everything. “The Man in the Machine” focuses on this dark side of the auteur. You’d think that there’d be at least some doubt about how much of the information here is actually true, and you’d be wrong. Everything Gibney presents here is 100% convincing, and quite stunningly so.

But there’s one more thing. If there’s something I can guarantee more than anything else about the documentary, it is that it will change your perspective on Jobs.


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