Meewella | Critic

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Tag: Michael Ironside

QuickView: BlackBerry (2023)

“Why would anybody want a phone without a keyboard?”

Mike Lazaridis 

A “fictionalization” of the rise and fall of RIM/BlackBerry, Matt Johnson approaches the subject as twin tales of hubris — the engineering perfectionism of founder Mike Lazaridis and the flexible ethics of business mogul Jim Balsillie. With a heavy dose of humour and dense with pop culture, there are tonal similarities with last year’s Tetris and the recent Dumb Money, though BlackBerry has a more cogent theme and arc. In fact, its blend of historical bootstrapped tech development and entrepreneurial intrigue is often reminiscent of the criminally underappreciated series Halt and Catch Fire. Jay Baruchel and Glenn Howerton are surprising but highly effective choices as the leads, while Johnson gives himself the role of Doug Fregin in a committed but less nuanced performance as the sidelined co-founder who fails to mature with the business. Over a decade later, The Social Network continues to influence how this kind of film is made, in the presentation of startup culture and the fractious relationships and isolation stemming from success. Lazaridis’ complacency at having built the smartphone market and his certainty that the iPhone would fail are, with hindsight, almost farcical, but BlackBerry explores (at a surface level) the unexpectedly shifting market of the carrier networks as well. The enlightening result is a good tragedy, and an excellent cautionary tale.


QuickView: Nobody (2021)

“Everybody dies… some sooner than others.”

Hutch Mansell

With Saul Goodman typically on the receiving end of violence in Better Call Saul, Bob Odenkirk is an unexpected choice for an action hero, particularly as he was nearing 60 when making Nobody. Yet he is perfect as frustrated family man Hutch Mansell who finds himself in conflict with the Russian mob after protecting a stranger. In the lead-up, Nobody portrays but never fully explores the crisis of masculinity Hutch faces when perceived as weak in his son’s eyes, followed by the desire for a violent outlet to reassert himself, dangerously inviting aggression. Penned by the same writer, and with Odenkirk just two years older than Keanu Reeves, John Wick is an obvious parallel — visually Nobody is less stylised than Wick’s world of luxury hitman hotels, but their violence is similarly visceral. Hutch’s victories lie largely in his ability to keep getting back up, no matter how battered and bruised. Like Wick, Hutch is aided by colourful side characters played by veterans like Christopher Lloyd, RZA and Michael Ironside. Nobody is perfectly paced, its crescendo leading to a climax that is perhaps more rousing than such realistic violence ought to be. It is darkly enjoyable, then, and its reception has been warm enough to earn a sequel filming this year.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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