BlackBerry delivers a solid and engaging film with commendable performances and an interesting story. However, despite its strengths, the film falls victim to a predictable pattern that feels all too familiar. Retrospectively, started with The Social Network. While it may not break new ground in terms of plot, BlackBerry manages to entertain.
One aspect that undeniably shines in the movie is the exceptional acting by the cast. The performers bring depth and authenticity to their roles. Each character feels believable, thanks to the nuanced performances that showcase their emotional struggles, ambitions, and conflicts. It’s a testament to the dedication of the cast. They manage to elevate the material, even in the face of a somewhat formulaic storyline.
The story of BlackBerry presents an interesting premise that explores the world of technology and its impact on society. The movie delves into the creation of the titular smartphone and its mark within this digital landscape. While the narrative and characters are intriguing, it falls short in its execution, often resorting to a familiar formula that hampers its originality.
In Waterloo, Ontario, 1996, two best friends Mike Lazaridis (Jay Baruchel) and his best friend Douglas Fregin (Matt Johnson, also the movie’s director) have a company they named Research in Motion (RIM). I agree, the company’s name is horrible. They pitch their “PocketLink” cellular device to businessman Jim Balsillie (Glenn Howerton). Later, Balsillie (not pronounced Balls-Lee) joins RIM as Co-CEO and thus the BlackBerry was born.
Johnson’s vision, though somewhat restrained by the familiarity of the storytelling, still shines through in various moments throughout the movie. As for his performance as Doug, it was all right but often ended up with him just standing there with a dumb look on his face.
Baruchel was great as Mike and showed how much of a spineless pushover he was. However, his wig was the cheapest thing about the movie and was a bit distracting. Maybe the real Mike Lazaridis went grey at a young age. Howerton, as Jim, was probably the best casting possible. He was an incredible jerk and the most entertaining presence on screen.
The main drawback of BlackBerry lies in the plot, which follows a paint-by-numbers approach. The movie adheres to a pattern that has been seen numerous times since the aforementioned The Social Network, giving off the feeling of unoriginality. The beats and story arcs feel typical and predictable. It is unfortunate that the movie fails to break free from conventionality. That said, I am not sure how it could’ve offered a unique perspective on the subject matter as it has all been done before.
Despite its shortcomings, BlackBerry manages to stay engaging with its competent direction, compelling performances, and thought-provoking themes. It also seems to be anti-China, so I have to give it some points for that at least.
In the end, BlackBerry is a movie that manages to strike a balance between its strengths and weaknesses. While its story may adhere to a pattern we’ve seen before, it remains an engaging watch thanks to the talented cast and the director’s ability to create compelling moments. If you can overlook the formulaic nature of the plot, it offers a worthwhile cinematic journey that invites contemplation on the intricate relationship between technology and our lives.
I can’t wait for the biopic of Bill Gates, the birth of Windows and buying up all the farms until we start eating bugs.