Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac. (IMDb)
Artfully filmed, the pre-product launch setting blends nicely the personal and vocational aspects of Jobs’ life (though it does start to feel a little contrived the third time around), adds a thrilling sense of urgency to the proceedings (highlighted by a barrage of whip-cracking dialogue), and makes for a uniquely and appreciably focused biopic that aims to capture his character instead of his whole life story (it certainly hits its mark, but its focus is compromised a bit with the flashbacks).
In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. (IMDb)
The significance of the mid-narrative opening scene still isn’t clear as it’s returned to later on, but it’s the only thing that doesn’t connect in this affecting and well-acted (Fassbender is a highlight) period piece. McQueen’s direction is laudably and fittingly unrelenting and inaccessible, with achingly long takes (see Solomon’s tiptoe hanging) and unflinching scenes of violence (see Patsy’s whipping). Bursts of tense music also add emotional nuance to the typical sentimental soundtrack.
A young Scottish man travels across America in pursuit of the woman he loves, attracting the attention of an outlaw who is willing to serve as a guide. (IMDb)
A tastefully simple and slow-paced Western adventure plot with just a dot of dramatic irony is accented by stunningly coloured cinematography, an earthy soundtrack, and unique camerawork (see the dead person stills at the end), and punctuated by a starkly violent final act. The ambling and artful script veers into vague melodrama a little too often (especially in its emotional climax) but with the film’s delicious aesthetic it creates a rich portrayal of melancholic frontier America.