There was an era when BlackBerries ruled the market. It was the early 2000s when Blackberry was dominating and every businessman had one in his possession. It was quite simply a revolutionary product, that changed everything in the smartphone business. There’s a quote in the movie just before the end credits which says, “At its peak, Blackberry claimed 45% of the handheld phone market. Today, It’s zero.” Blackberry may well be a forgotten brand, but the story behind the rise and fall of the juggernaut absolutely deserves to be told.
BlackBerry tells the story of Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, the two men that charted the course of the spectacular rise and catastrophic demise of the world’s first smartphone.” The film follows Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel) and Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton) on their quest to create and sell their groundbreaking invention. Mike runs a company called Research In Motion with his friend Douglas Fregin (Matt Johnson), where they are very happy with what they do not any financial growth to show for it. As soon as Jim joins the company as Co-CEO, he brings much-needed energy to the work environment and gets everybody running on full capacity.
What unfolds from their on is non-stop chaotic drama from all sides where our main protagonists have to fight their way out of tight corners and threatening situations multiple times. The story is really interesting, especially with such colorful characters. You can’t help but root for them. There are plenty of hilarious moments in the screenplay at regular intervals which gives a good balance to all the tension and high stakes that the situations present. The script from Matt Johnson and Matthew Miller is very tight with almost no fat. They make sure to be as authentic as possible when conveying this incredible story.
The acting is also worth praising. Baruchel is very grounded and understated in the earlier parts of the runtime, but gets to be more expressive in the latter half. Howerton brings all the intensity he can to his portrayal of Jim Balsillie. He has an electric screen presence full of energy and fierceness. He is often seen screaming, swearing or breaking things, which he does convincingly. The supporting cast does well too. Matt Johnson’s direction is very measured and calculated. He restrains from doing anything fancy, but ensures to accurately capture all the action behind the scenes in the tech industry and phone market at the time. The soundtrack is also very smartly crafted with scenes so that it gives out a stronger impact at certain moments in the journey.
BlackBerry is a spectacular biopic that takes us through the meteoric rise and fall of the Blackberry smartphone. This unusually frenetic underdog story is heartwarming yet heartbreaking at the same time. It is an absolute entertainer from start to finish with sharp humor, charismatic performances, and a tight script. Blackberry is easily one of the best movies of the year so far. This movie had no right to be as good as it was. Hopefully, it gets the love it deserves from the audience.