Directed by: Matt Johnson
Distributed by: IFC Films

Written by Alexander Reams


Performers like Glenn Howerton are constantly overlooked, clearly capable of mountaintop performances, but limited because of their name. Television shows like “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” or the more recent “A.P. Bio” are synonymous with Howerton. It takes a director with a certain eye, one that could perhaps direct a darkly comedic film about the dangers of confusing movies with reality, or one about a conspiracy to fake the moon landing. Director Matt Johnson did both with “The Dirties” and “Operation Avalanche,” a duology that somehow makes sense for a director whose third feature is the story of the rise and fall of the Blackberry cellphone. Another product movie, but like the last few (“Flamin Hot,” “Air,” “Tetris,” etc.) it’s fantastic filmmaking with a great approach to the story and characters. 

“Blackberry” centers on Jay Baruchel’s Mike Lazaridis (CEO of Research In Motion (RIM), the creator of the Blackberry) as he tries to find a product to bring his company out of massive debt after a deal gone bad with U.S. Robotics. The only one to see the deal for what it is would be Jim Basillie (Glenn Howerton), who joins RIM as Co-CEO with Lazaridis and immediately is at odds with the former’s best friend, Douglas Fregin (Matt Johnson) who detests the corporate attitude of Basillie, but also is the only one who sees him for what he is. The fall of RIM is inevitable from the first scene where Lazaridis bumbles his pitch to Basillie, he isn’t cut out for this world and will either fail by himself or have someone take it from him. Both are true, and Johnson doesn’t spare either from the consequences of their actions. 

The comparisons to Fincher’s “The Social Network” are just, but Johnson’s signature documentarian style is the most significant thing to set “Blackberry” apart from its social media counterpart. However, its knack for composing soon-to-be iconic shots is blow-for-blow with “The Social Network” with cinematographer Jared Raab being the star of the technical department. Baruchel and Johnson make for a great pair, but it’s the addition of Glenn Howerton’s legendary performance that takes “Blackberry” to the next level. His performance is a masterclass of acting with a balance of comedy and menace always protruding through the frame. “Blackberry” might have been early in the year, but it’s one of the most interesting new releases to be unleashed at audiences thus far.

“Blackberry” Trailer

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: InstagramLetterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

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