A movie you should text and talk about.
“BlackBerry” is another brutally funny and consistently entertaining biopic about an idea that transcended from cynicism to success after Ben Affleck’s “Air.” That was about Nike’s deal with Michael Jordan; this one is about the invention of the BlackBerry and its rise and fall. And plus, this true story takes place in Canada.
This is you-the readers: silence and crickets chirping.
This me saying: don’t disrespect them. Listen to what these Canadians have to say.
Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel) and Doug Fregin (Matt Johnson, the writer/director) are both businessmen with lots of pop culture references and lots of ambition and ideas. Their latest idea is something that may have been ridiculed at first, but then again, society did the same thing with Thomas Edison when he invented the lightbulb. But he didn’t care what people thought, and neither do these guys.
They host a business meeting with the power-hungry Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton), who agrees to help get their product on the market, on the condition that he becomes the CEO of their company. Doug knows this guy is a shark, but Mike agrees, but he and Jim would be co-CEOs. Jim manages to push everyone to their limits to make sure a prototype works, and it sure does. That means he has to get the right guys joining their team and the right target audience to buy their products.
In the respective business meetings, there’s Palm CEO Carl Yankowski (Cary Elwes), and the skeptic chief John Woodman (Saul Rubinek).
And among the collaboration of characters from other companies, Jim also gets the bossy Charles Purdy (Michael Ironside) as the new CEO, as well as Paul Stannos (Rich Sommer), the head of physical engineering at Google.
And of course, there has to be competition from new products like the iPhone.
I never asked for a cell phone, way I got different versions is like the theory of evolution. I start off with a crappy phone, next a BlackBerry, and finally, new versions of the iPhone. I’m not saying this to be cocky; I just wanted to say it since I’m reviewing a movie about a cellphone.
“BlackBerry” is another masterpiece out this year, and it’s a small film released by IFC Films that really should get the word out about its existence. I can text this review on my iPhone and spread the word as much as a possible. I can also write this review on my MacBook, but it’s the principle of the matter. It knows when to be funny and serious, and the tension thickens as the company becomes threatened.
The performances are universally excellent. Baruchel knows how to balance his humor and pathos in his filmography, and on a small note, I never thought I’d see the day when his make-up requires grey hair. Howerton gives the most explosive performance in the film with how he yells and represents the greed in his real-life character. And Johnson balances both sides as the filmmaker and star with the right headband and tone of a computer nerd with good taste in pop culture and genius ideas.
Like “The Social Network,” which was about the creation of Facebook, “BlackBerry” is about the friends and enemies made within such ideas, and Johnson tells this story like it is. Or, at least, what the book “Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of the BlackBerry” intended. There are many complications in what was an amazing product, and seeing this movie is like a trip down memory lane. Of course, there were glitches in the product, but what product doesn’t?
Trust me: you won’t need to return “BlackBerry” back to the company. You’ll want to keep it.
In Select Theaters This Friday