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‘Blackberry’ Charts the Rise and Fall of the World’s Coolest Phone


The BB phone might be dead and buried, but its legacy lives on. The debut trailer for IFC Films’ BlackBerry, charts the rise and eventual fall of the iconic smartphone, telling the remarkable true story of the early-millennium technology phenomenon. Before the iPhone changed the game, the Blackberry mobile device had a massive universal presence and was seen almost as a status symbol. Hollywood is now readying its fingers, eager to type out the true story behind the once-omnipresent mobile phone.

'Blackberry' (2023) | Image: Rhombus Media

‘Blackberry’ (2023) | Image: IFC Films

BlackBerry draws its inspiration from Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff’s 2015’s business non-fiction, “Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry”. The movie comes from director Matt Johnson, who worked on the script with Matthew Miller, however, Johnson also stars in the movie as BlackBerry co-founder Douglas Fregin. Joining him is This is the End star Jay Baruchel as Mike Lazaridis, the co-founder of BlackBerry creator Research in Motion, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia favourite Glenn Howerton as the company’s former co-CEO Jim Balsillie.

The debut trailer takes us back to the year 1996, a time when the internet was a novelty and many were still wrapping their heads around the tech. We see Johnson’s Doug and Baruchel’s Mike pitching their world-changing idea to Balsillie about a cell phone capable of handling emails after discovering a “free wireless internet signal” in North America.

'Blackberry' (2023) | Image: Rhombus Media

‘Blackberry’ (2023) | Image: IFC Films

The duo plan to harness this untapped signal to invent the first-ever mobile device that possesses both calling and email capabilities. While both Doug and Mike have a common goal, Doug isn’t confident about Balsillie and cautions Mike about agreeing to work with Balsillie describing him as “sketchy” and “a shark.”

When the trio meets up again to discuss their deal, Balsillie proposes, “I know how to market it, and I know who we can sell it to, but I want 50 per cent of the company, and I’ve got to be CEO.” To everyone’s utter shock, Baruchel’s character instantly agrees with the proposal without batting an eye. With this new arrangement given a go-ahead, Douglas and Mike start working on their device but apparently are lagging behind the proposed schedule.

This upsets Balsillie, who, in the trailer, says, “We are in a race to get this thing to market, and we are a year behind — I need a prototype,” to which we see Mike responding, “I will do it perfectly or I don’t do it.” Shots of Mike and the team devising the now-iconic tech behind Blackberry’s phones are thrown in, following which the company shows the prototype to potential investors.

'Blackberry' (2023) | Image: Rhombus Media

‘Blackberry’ (2023) | Image: IFC Films

The tipping point arrives when Baruchel’s Mike suggests to a first-time user to “try typing with your thumbs” instead of fingers. Wowza! The trailer then teases the meteoric rise of BlackBerry phones, but things come crashing down for Johnson’s Doug and Baruchel’s Mike Lazaridis when Steve Jobs announces the very first iPhone. “We are in the middle of a hostile takeover,” shouts Balsillie over the phone.

Elsewhere in the trailer, we see the company desperately trying from losing its market leader position and doing everything in its power to turn the tide. BlackBerry’s cast also includes Saul Rubinek, Michael Ironside, Rich Sommer, Michelle Giroux, Mark Critch and SungWon Cho.

The movie is produced by Fraser Ash, Niv Fichman, Kevin Krikst and Matthew Miller, while Nate Bolotin, Maxime Cottray, Adrian Love, Jay McCarrol, Noah Segal, Nick Spicer, Aram Tertzakian and Robert Upchurch serve as executive producers for the film. With BlackBerry hitting big screens on May 12, get ready to witness “a whirlwind ride through a ruthlessly competitive Silicon Valley at breakneck speeds.”

'Blackberry' (2023) | Image: Rhombus Media

‘Blackberry’ (2023) | Image: IFC Films