Cast: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Matt Johnson, Kelly Van der Burg
Genre: Biography, Comedy Drama, History
Director: Matt Johnson
In Cinemas: 6th October 2023
BlackBerry comes from Director, Co-writer, and co-star Matt Johnson. He proudly boasts a solid Canadian flare throughout the production and among this cast and crew in his latest entertaining offering. This film tells the origin story of the BlackBerry mobile device, the leading and most popular phone on the market until the Apple iPhone arrived and obliterated it off the map. It follows tech geek Mike Lizardidid (Jay Baruchel) and ruthless businessman Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton), who form an unlikely partnership to develop and sell the world’s first multipurpose cellphone. The contrast and comparison between Lizardidid’s work ethic and environment and Balsillie’s business style is mesmerising to watch. Balsillie (Howerton) transforms an office full of Lizardidid’s close, nerdy, childlike friends who occasionally like to waste time into a serious, focused, business-minded operation. We always see these scenarios unravelling on screen, and the characteristics and weight behind them lead us to question ourselves as to whose side we are on. There are many similarities to David Fincher’s The Social Network (2010), where tension-filled scenes in office spaces unfold, and discussions and disagreements happen in real-time on a business level, which could result in poetical success or failure. Johnson does a great job of creating sympathy and compassion towards the situation and the people involved when you might not have necessarily owned or can relate to a Blackberry product.
We continually see the world of fast and wealthy men who are relentless in living a business life and its severe implications on others, from flying on private jets to trying to make as much money as possible. In contrast, we see a group of childhood friends who enjoy movie and pizza nights, don’t take things too seriously, and instead enjoy being in each other’s company. This works well throughout the film; it divides opinions about the values of materialism and suggests an element of realism in today’s society. The style of filmmaking is similar to the TV show The Office, where the camera does quick snap zooms and pans across computer monitors and through office windows and continuously jumps and cuts from the character’s reaction. Shots always go into a close-up of a person where you can nearly sense their feelings and how they will react to a specific situation. It works sometimes, and for the most part, it seems unnecessary. Glenn Howerton from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fame is the star of this movie and gives an outstanding performance. He plays the character in an over-the-top and extravagantly entertaining way, which is thrilling and frustrating to watch.
BlackBerry has that perfect blend of humour and dramatic scenes mixed in with that nostalgia element, which most people can relate to. It was interesting to learn about the formation of BlackBerry from Mike Lizardidid’s early beginnings with his start-up company RIM (Research in Motion). Occasionally, the fictional parts included to help better the plot flow become evident and distracting. However, this movie was surprising and entertaining, filled with suspense and emotion.
Overall: 7 / 10