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Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

“Having tackled the Scientologists in his most recent film Going Clear, documentary maker Alex Gibney takes on a cult that is even more ardent, and with considerably more members – that of Apple. His unsparing portrait of Steve Jobs will prove extremely displeasing to devotees, but it’s a riveting and important corrective to the myths Jobs helped to propagate.

“Gibney sets about zeroing in on certain aspect of Jobs’s life to paint a compelling portrait of a modern-day Citizen Kane. Jobs, a die-hard Bob Dylan fan whom Gibney paints as a product of 60s counterculture, was set alight by early “blue box” hacking technology, which allowed users to make long distance phone calls without paying for them, a way Jobs could delightedly stick it to the Man.

“Yet this man, whose belief in his own righteousness was unshakeable, also terminated Apple’s philanthropic programmes, presided over huge corporate tax evasion, paid Chinese workers making iPhones a pittance, and only stumped up maintenance for his first daughter after dragging his ex-girlfriend through the courts, claiming that she was promiscuous and he was infertile, until a DNA test proved otherwise.

“Gibney’s film concludes that Jobs had the monomaniacal focus of a monk but none of the empathy of one, and it makes a powerful case. Jobs’s was an astonishing life of such significance that it will probably be studied for centuries, and Gibney does not downplay his genius. Yet the kernel of the film is probably the ex-girlfriend who says that Job “blew it”. Jobs achieved things that the vast majority of us would never dream of. Yet Gibney’s film forensically anatomises the contradictions, the ruthlessness, and the pointlessly crappy behaviour that reveal Apple’s ideals to be a sham, even while the products themselves continue to prove almost irresistible.” - The Guardian

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