The cell phone is no longer absent from everyday life. It is a tool that has gained more and more functionality and rendered various other devices useless. It is a computer, camera, compass, navigation system, tape measure, music player, TV, game device and much more. A device that we now take for granted, but thirty years ago seemed like something out of a science fiction movie. If I had seen the average telephone of today in the eighties, I would probably not have believed that such a thing could actually exist. Developments are happening at a tremendous pace and the form is changing as well. New categories, such as those with foldable screens (think of the Galaxy Fold), show that we are still not ready. Technology is changing rapidly and this has also had an impact on film.
Phones can be spoilers
An interesting factoid I came across is that when cell phones appear in a movie or series, you could get an idea of whether someone can be trusted based on the brand. What, in fact, is the case? When you see an iPhone in a Hollywood production, you can be sure you’re not dealing with a “bad guy.” Director Rian Johnson made that clear in a “scene breakdown” of Knives Out. So that could potentially spoil a movie a little bit in the future if you start paying attention.
Phones are problem solvers
Because phones are so incredibly capable, a lot of movies would end quickly if characters all had their cell phones with them. Just think about your favorite movies and how different they would be with cell phones. A character will not get lost easily when he can use Google Maps. When a woman is stuck in a certain place she can just call 911. It would result in shorter movies because they allow you to solve a problem quickly. And filmmakers and scriptwriters have had to take this into account in the stories they tell.
Of course, there are movies that actually embrace technology. Cellular was a film in which the character played by Chris Evans actually fights against poor range, a battery that is running low, and other elements to be able to stay on the line with a woman who needs to be rescued. The genre of “screenlife” films, such as Searching for example, are set on computer and phone screens and also the use of social media and chat apps have become a normal part of films and series.
What movies do you have to think of that would be very different if they had a cell phone in them?