The Reviews Are In: Alex Gibney’s Steve Jobs documentary is “lazy,” “heavy handed” and “seems to have forgotten” there are two sides to every story
Alex Gibney’s documentary on Steve Jobs is being roasted by critics, who describe it as a one-sided portrayal of the founder of Apple Computers. Commentators have called it “mean spirited,” “heavy-handed and lazy,” and “one of the worst documentaries… he fumbled it.”
As USA TODAY wrote about the film’s principle failure: “There are always two sides to every story, and in this documentary, filmmaker Alex Gibney seems to have forgotten about that other side.”
Likewise, Alex Gibney did all that and more in his portrayal of the Church of Scientology. He had no interest in any facts that might contradict his premise, and interviewed the usual group of expelled ex-members with their own corruption.
He interviewed no actual Scientologists. In fact, for the two years he spent secretly working on the video, Alex Gibney went out of his way to avoid contacting the Church, visiting a Church or speaking to any of its members. Instead he chose to interview a small group of individuals he well knew were expelled by the Church for malfeasance, incompetence and violence. It was not until his film was in the can that Alex Gibney even bothered to mention it to the Church, which immediately responded.
Day after day, letter after letter poured into Alex Gibney’s office. All made one simple request: A fair opportunity for the Church of Scientology to respond to allegations Gibney was planning to make in his film Going Clear. But all of the correspondence ended up in Gibney’s dead letters file, arrogantly ignored because two years earlier when he launched his film he had already decided it would be a one-sided anti-religious hatchet job.
Presenting a balanced picture is what separates a documentarian from a propagandist. Alex Gibney has shown which side of the ledger he is on.