Controversial Steve Jobs documentary hits theaters today

Alex Gibney's Steve Jobs documentary opens Sept. 4th.

Movie fans may be waiting on Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs biopic, but another Jobs-related project arrives in theaters today. And, boy, is it not a film Apple is happy about!

Titled Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, the feature-length documentary is directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney, who has previously made docs exploring the dark side of Enron and the Church of Scientology.

Yep, you can probably see where this one is going!

Gibney’s Jobs documentary debuted at the South by Southwest Film Festival earlier this year. Shortly thereafter it was blasted by Apple VP Eddy Cue, who called it a, “mean-spirited view of my friend.”

Jobs certainly wasn’t faultless, and I’ve long been a fan of Gibney’s work (his 2007 documentary Taxi to the Dark Side, about the death of an Afghan taxi driver while being held at the Parwan Detention Facility, is absolutely worth checking out), but I’m somewhat concerned about The Man in the Machine.

Reviews so far — even those from outside Apple — have labelled it pretty much a sustained attack on Jobs, without much to counter-balance that. Here’s the Huffington Post, for example:

The Man In the Machine is focused largely on the thesis that Jobs was always and only a jerk, that people who enjoy Apple products and admire Jobs are idiots and cult members, and that the computer revolution that was born of Jobs’ vision must inevitably contain the same ugly darkness Gibney feels is Jobs’ defining trait, despite any evidence to the contrary.”

And here’s the Denver Post:

“What seems to fascinate Gibney most are Jobs’ well-known character failings, which his accomplishments merely seemed to throw into ever harsher relief … Gibney doesn’t exactly go in for cheap shots here, but you do get the sense that he’s making use of every weapon in his arsenal.”

You get the picture. On the plus-side, the movie appears to be full of great quality archive material which, while not new, most of which you’ve probably seen before in low-resolution YouTube clips. That alone should be a reason to go see The Man in the Machine.

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