Blackberry: at the Berlinale 2023 the film on the revolution of the first smartphone

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Taken from the 2015 work Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of Blackberry by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff, the film Blackberries is directed by Matt Johnson from a screenplay by Johnson and Matthew Miller. Glenn Howerton plays Jim Balsillie, the former co-CEO of the Canadian company that made the first smartphone in history. The rise and fall of the Research in Motion company that created the Blackberry is the beating heart of the Canadian biopic which “concerns the interesting and fascinating ways in which the company has risen to the top of the market by identifying the Blackberry as the most important to the world, making it such a desirable device,” the actor said.

Before the iPhone

Not everyone realized what they had in their hands and the Canadian biopic tries to delve into the consequences of such an innovative and revolutionary invention for the era in which it saw the light. A device that for the first time has combined a computer with a telephone in a single solution, thus also offering fun and revolution. As they have previously movies like The Social Network, Moneyball or The big bet, Blackberries it is a corporate story that gathers its energy in the ambition of the protagonists involved, from the creative Mike Lazaridis to Jim Balsillie who begin an adventure in 1996, when the idea is born and then follow the concrete realization.

The communication revolution

Johnson captures the enthusiasm of these Canadian dreamers who want to find a way to make a device born in their mind work to make a difference on the market. Since its early years, the Blackberry has been a tech superstar, but it faces a number of commercial hurdles. However, it soon becomes a fundamental tool for communicating, used by everyone, civilians of all ages and even by the president of the United States. It also unleashes competition, challenges, ambiguous deals and internal struggles also due to the profit that comes from its launch on the market. At the heart of the film is a team of passionate nerds with whom the viewer identifies, reliving that success story between nostalgia and dynamism. Howerton charismatically leads the film as forcefully as JK Simmons in Whiplashjoined by a compelling supporting cast such as Rubinek, Rich Sommer, Cary Elwes, Sungwon Cho and Michael Ironside.