“See, We Pay And You Write Songs, And Then You Make A Ton Of Money. And Then We Take Most Of It…”
With Danny Boyle being the subject of a very big hoo-hah after departing the much troubled project which is Bond 25, his latest venture in the form of Yesterday couldn’t be further from a tale about a cold-blooded British spy with a penchant for the ladies. Based around a screenplay from Richard Curtis, the acclaimed writing mind behind stalwart Christmas movies including Love Actually and Notting Hill, Boyle’s latest challenges you to hold back all levels of sanctimonious sniffing and imagine a world in which the iconic voice of The Beatles never existed, a movie which features Himesh Patel (Eastenders) in the lead role of Jack Malik, a passionate and wholly unsuccessful singer-songwriter whose only long-term dedicated fan is his manager and close friend, Ellie, as played by Lily James (Baby Driver). After a worldwide blackout, Jack is the victim of a nasty traffic collision and awakens to discover that neither “The White Album” or “Abbey Road” ever existed, resulting in him deciding to rip off the famous words of Lennon and co. in order to stake a claim of fame for himself.
With a central idea which is in itself slightly ludicrous, Boyle has managed to deal with particularly out-there screenplays throughout his career, whether it be the mind-bendingly confused state of a film like Trance or the more down-to-Earth, family friendly Millions, a film with a central idea which in this political climate seems a million miles away, and with a first act which joyously announces all the lead characters, including Jack’s oblivious parents and Joel Fry’s (Game of Thrones) maniacal roadie, Yesterday begins in interesting and heartwarming fashion, particularly when the first chords of famous Beatles tracks are seemingly heard for the very first time by Jack’s close family and friends. As soon as Ed Sheeran turns up however, the film moves from low-key niceties to schlocky, sentimental nonsense, taking the worst parts of Love Actually and turning them up to eleven as the film evolves into a Beatles inspired love-in with added saccharin sweetness whilst seemingly forgetting the greatness of a first act which in all its’ absurdity still managed to feel real, and with a final curtain which made me nearly gag at the sheer audacity of attempting to make everyone grab the nearest tissue, Boyle’s movie is a messy, violently polished work of tosh which just happens to have a great first act which saves the piece from being a total disaster. Plus, they didn’t even mention the best Beatles song; HELTER SKELTER, COMING DOWN FAST!
Overall Score: 6/10
“We Will Know Soon Enough If You Are Leonardo da Vinci Or Just Think You Are…”
Let’s get this straight. I am seemingly one of the minority in the world where shopping in an Apple branded store for Apple branded products to me would be in similar vein to shopping at Waitrose. Sure everything looks nice and flashy, but it’s price tag and lack of distinction from the norm really makes me want to shop elsewhere. With this thought in mind, I ventured into my local world of cine and into a midday screening of Steve Jobs with rather mixed expectations. On the upside, I love Danny Boyle, with his entire filmography stretching all the way back to Shallow Grave being something I will always love and cherish, and I love Micheal Fassbender, with his recent performance in Macbeth being one of my favourites of the year so far. So all in all, the signs were mixed, was Steve Jobs set to be a success in my own point of view after hearing of possible award ceremony attention heading its’ way? Was Fassbender set to reel us in with his portrayal of Jobs and leave us wanting more by the end of it? After leaving the cinema my instant reaction to both questions was a sincere, yes, with Steve Jobs being one of the most entertainingly and highly engrossing written movies I have watched in recent memory.
Set in the form of three acts, each taking place before the launch of a major Jobs’-led product, Steve Jobs is a masterpiece in how, if written with extreme delicacy and understanding, a two-hour film set basically in one confined space, can become a work of art. Much like the Apple products themselves, Steve Jobs is a rife and intelligent beast, if rather fundamentally lacking in a sense of depth and scope, with Danny Boyles’ latest relying heavily on the influence of Aaron Sorkin’s script, a man best known for The West Wing and the simply brilliant The Social Network, a film which can draw a lot of similarities with Steve Jobs due to both having an extensive amount of the “walk and talk” nature of their scripts, a feat in which Sorkin is proudly famous for. Within the fundamental intelligence of Sorkin’s script, is a heavy sense of theater and stage, giving room for the cast that includes the likes of Jeff Daniels, Seth Rogen, and particularly the one-two of Fassbender and Kate Winslet, room to go completely full on, adapting scenes of dialogue from Sorkin’s script into a real sense of dramatic power and steel.
Of course, Steve Jobs is not set to be for everyone, with its’ heavy reliance on dialogue and concentration not entirely being set for mass appeal, whilst Fassbender’s inhuman and simply cold portrayal of Jobs himself may be rather too alienating for some of the more humane audiences out there, yet for me personally, Steve Jobs exceeded my rather mid-level expectations twice-fold with its’ flashy and intelligent script and rather brilliant performances of almost everyone involved, but with standout nods to particularly Fassbender, Winslet and Daniels, making Steve Jobs a real joyous surprise. Oscars, you may be right. Steve Jobs is a-coming.
Overall Score: 9/10