Blackberry - an indie biopic

Blackberry's tale of rise to fame and downfall is in no way dissimilar in its content from the many biopics centered around some of the tech geniuses of our age. Yet its delivery, its narration makes it intrinsically stronger than most of the films of this genre.

The trend seems to be that every single modern day invention could have its own film: Steve Jobs, The Social Network, The Founder, more recently Air are just few of the films that come in an endless stream of "inspiring" stories of success that keep fueling the american dream of the self-made man. Blackberry however reminds more of Shane Carruth's indie Primer than Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs, maybe due to Matt Johnson's quirky, found footage-derivate style: it is a storytelling that leaves aside all forms of declamation and ideological association to center on a very grounded tale of a group of nerdy young developers who end up with a crazy idea, which happens to be the smartphone. 

A fast-paced storyline that never drags or never takes a break to overinform the viewer, its greatest trait is the abscence of non-necessary exposition: even the most complicated background aspects of the development are conveyed through the most essential and succint manners possible. In full truth, Blackberry could be centered on any storyline, and its form would be as strong as to maintain the grip of the audience. 

Blackberry also excels at its lead performances: Jay Baruchel, mostly associated to his voice acting in Dragon Trainer or the disney movie The Sorcerer's Apprentice, is able to give his best in a very subtle character, while co-lead Glenn Howerton provides a truly outstanding work as the co-lead, the hopes being that he is given more often bigger roles in the future. Matt Johnson's own supporting character does however drag down, although it has been probably depicted intentionally as annoying.

In definitive, Blackberry manages to subtly break some norms for its subgenre, and consacrate the talents of its cast and director in a mainstream film.


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