The Moya View

Blackberry: The Road to the iPhone is Paved with Blackberries

IFC Films

Storyline via IMDB:

A company that toppled global giants before succumbing to the ruthlessly competitive forces of Silicon Valley. This is not a conventional tale of modern business failure by fraud and greed. The rise and fall of BlackBerry reveals the dangerous speed at which innovators race along the information superhighway.


Review:

All on screen stories about businesses, especially if they are based on true ones like that of Blackberry, are comedies that turn tragedies. Hollywood can’t deal with success. For them greed is not good, and to do a story about the successful business that hasn’t ruined itself is not a story they are interested in telling. Also a defunct company doesn’t have the money, or the lawyers to sue.

IFC Films

Back in the Late 90’s-early 2000’s the Black(Crack)Berry was the mobile phone until the iPhone dethroned it. They were undone by unchecked greed that violated the legal rules of Wall Street. Here, it’s about a company with a good idea, moral business plan that sold out it tech-geek values. The good nerd founder (played by director Matt Johnson) who stayed true is cast to the side. The inventor-innovator-cum aspiring well meaning business tycoon (Jay Baruchel) provides common sense direction at first, a greed check until the siren song new Co-CEO (Glenn Howerton doing a pretty good imitation of the greed is good Michael Douglas of Wall Street) crashes him and his company on the illusionary rocks of too much unchecked success too fast.

IFC Films

The irony of this story is that the iPhone, the new.cell phone king, is built on the cheap Chinese manufacturing that they despised and eventually cultivated with no checks. Blackberry was undone when it sacrificed quality for quantity. Apple put in controls to guarantee quality and quantity, proving that both can happily exist within the Chinese business model. Now with the hinted deal/merger for the Disney Empire, Hollywood itself will eventually be swallowed up. That is if the studios can survive the writers-actors strike.

IFC Films

The geek squad laborers speak a combination of tech dialect sprinkled with a heavy dose of movie quotes. The joie de vivre enhances the eventual hostile take over by strictly business language and focus on production goals. The doom smothers the light that was in a thick smog. The camera stops hopping around, the light becomes gray, and the grinding to tragedy takes over. Vogon poetry yields to talk of spreadsheets, quarterly reports, more focus, more production. More, more, more.

IFC Films

It’s this splitting of the two geek founders with the ruthless business manager as the intermediary that focuses the tragedy. The BlackBerry’s death was inevitable. That’s the evolution of business. The death of the founders friendship needed not come to an extinction.

IFC Films

Blackberry exposes how vulnerable creatives and innovators are to being exploited in a cutthroat marketplace. It shows how the push-pull between genius and business demands mutual dependence for success.

IFC Films

Blackberry gets a 4.0 out of 5 or an A-.

IFC Films

Credits:

Directed by

Matt Johnson

Screenplay by

Based on

  • Jacquie McNish
  • Sean Silcoff

Produced by

Starring

Cinematography

Jared Raab

Edited by

Curt Lobb

Music by

Jay McCarrol

Production

companies

Distributed by

Elevation Pictures

Release dates

  • February 17, 2023(Berlin)
  • May 12, 2023(Canada)

Running time

121 minutes

Country

Canada[1]

Language

English

Budget

$5 million


IFC Films

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