I remember having a purple Blackberry cell phone that I enjoyed using until it had issues, and it was time to update to a newer model. I was then introduced to the iPhone as an option. It was not an easy transition, and I was skeptical. The salesperson at my store was patient in answering questions, and I took the plunge to change. Who knew that ten years later, I would be at SXSW Film & TV Festival watching the North American Premiere of the film Blackberry from director Matt Johnson and learn about “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” (per IFC Films).
Directed by Matt Johnson from an adapted script he co-wrote with Matthew Miller (based on Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff’s book “Losing the Signa: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry”), I found the film entertaining about the Canadian invention and how the business was run in not so effective ways by co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel) and Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton). You would not think that a film about corporate wrongdoing would have the audience laugh with humor, but the writers manage to infuse the script with it before the more dramatic parts of their story rise. The team of tech developers is led by Douglas Fregin (Johnson), and his performance is one that I found humorous, along with the sweatband on his head. They did not fit the corporate mold, which was unacceptable to Jim Balsillie (Howerton).
The music by Jay McCarrol has some fine selections to enhance the script, but after a quick search, I did not locate a soundtrack for the film. Even if the film is not considered perfect, it was a nominee for the SXSW 2023 Audience Award in the Narrative Spotlight category.
The cast also includes Rich Sommer, Michael Ironside, Martin Donovan, Michelle Giroux, Sungwon Cho, Mark Critch, Saul Rubinek, and Cary Elwes.
The film lasts 2 hours and 2 minutes and has an R rating. The film is opening locally (Austin) and in theaters nationwide.
Source: IFC Films