8.5/10 I pointed out in my “Air” review how between “Air”, “Tetris” (review coming soon) and now “BlackBerry”, there has been a trend of films coming out about either the creation of or important periods of a business and the people at the top of those businesses. While I have yet to watch “Tetris” and overall I enjoyed “Air”, “BlackBerry” is easily the best of the bunch and one of the best films of 2023 so far. My complaints are rather minor but I will save those for later. This biographical dramedy is equal parts hilarious (the first half of the film) and heartbreaking (the latter half of the film). Since comedies have largely been dead over the past several years with maybe only one or two decent comedies per year, I laughed harder in this film, which isn’t even a straight up comedy. BlackBerry was the first smart phone and I myself had it as my first smart phone over a decade ago. I loved my BlackBerry but had no idea the true story behind its inspiring rise and catastrophic fall. The best kinds of films are ones that can educate you while being entertaining and co-writer/director/supporting actor Matt Johnson’s “BlackBerry” expertly does both across its well paced, two hour running time. This film has memorable characters with strong acting as Jay Baruchel (as BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis) completely disappears into the role, especially in the second half of the film as time jumps forward a little bit. Glenn Howerton, known mainly for hilarity on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” plays completely against type as co-CEO of Research In Motion Jim Balsillie and between his bald head and playing a complete prick, it was refreshing to see a side of his acting I had never seen before. The film score from Jay McCarrol combined techno beats with a video game-esque flair to create a unique score perfectly fitting into the nerdy atmosphere that the film takes place within. The cinematography from Jared Raab utilized a docudrama feel (picture how the American version of “The Office” was shot) but it works incredibly well since this is based on a true story. With the film being well made, strongly acted, terrifically paced, highly entertaining, hilarious and with a strong script, we get to see unfortunately how “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” From the humble beginnings with video games in the work place and weekly movie nights to a multi-billion dollar company, we see how the wealth and power can ruin many people, which is something happening every day across the planet. As for the minor complaints, you can certainly feel the influence of “The Social Network” on this film. From the fact that this covers a tech company’s origin, even overlapping with some of the same years to people high up in the company ultimately screwing each other over, there are many similarities to David Fincher’s 2010 classic. Even the final scene of the film mirrors “The Social Network” and its final scene as we see the founder of each company (Facebook/BlackBerry) in a saddened state partaking in a repetitive action before the ending credits roll. While I did enjoy the film score, you can hear slight influences from Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor’s Oscar winning score with some of the techno beats. While the shadows of “The Social Network” loom large over this film, this is still a fantastic film going experience with laughter and heartbreak paired with good, old fashioned film making and one that I feel would hold up well upon multiple, repeat viewings. Be sure to check this out in theaters while you can and if you miss it, make sure to rent/stream it when it becomes available.

#RIMJob / #ThisIsTheEndOfTheCompany / #FoundedInSlaughterYouOntario / #TheBattleOfWaterloo / #ItsAlwaysFunnyInCanada / #BerryMovie

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