On face value, a movie about Tetris should not be exciting unless you were around in the late 1980s to remember the craze that video game created.
When compared to the modern era of Call of Duty, Skyrim, and other popular video game titles; Tetris may seem like a very basic game for a very basic generation. The truth of the matter is that without Tetris, many modern video games would have never developed to the point that they did today.
Despite everyone knowing about the game, people are ignorant of the history that led to that game’s creation and how its rise led to the downfall of the USSR in the late 1980s. Apple TV is the studio that’s been given the task of telling all the answers to a story about how one of the most influential games in video game history was almost thwarted by a dying communist regime desperate to do anything in their power to remove any capitalist influences from their country.
Set in 1988, Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) is a representative of Bullet-Proof Software as his company markets his newest video game at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. While there, he instead becomes enamored with the game Tetris, created by Soviet programmer Alexey Pajitnov, who works for government-owned ELORG in the Soviet Union.
Rogers explains to a bank manager that Robert Stein of Andromeda Software had obtained the worldwide licensing rights to Tetris from ELORG, and signed a contract with media tycoon Robert Maxwell and his son, CEO of Mirrorsoft, Kevin Maxwell, allowing them to distribute Tetris in exchange for game royalties.
Rogers is put in the position where he is asked to juggle the rights of the video game in the arcade version of Tetris in order to make a big score for his company and turn around the life of him and his family. However, when it’s discovered that the entities involved don’t have the rights they claimed, Rogers is put in a position where he has to fly out to Russia in the middle of a communist revolt and obtain the rights from the source.
This endeavor proves to be more than he can handle as Rogers not only puts his family’s well-being and reputation on the line but his life as well. ‘Tetris’ is a appealing international thriller taking the story of one of the most simplistic video games in history and turning it into a chess match between multiple Nations.
The film dives between attempting to secure the rights to a video game that is owned by Russia to a Japanese company that is looking to redistribute those games in the United States and all over the world.
The film is placed in the backdrop of the late 1980s at the cusp of the fall of the USSR and Germany. The relations between the United States and Russia at the time were still volatile and a man wanting to buy the rights of a video game was viewed as an enemy of the state as a man was seen as capitalism opening the doors to the country.
Taron Egerton gives a strong performance in this movie as Henk Rogers and it takes a film that could have come out flat with the subject matter of the film and makes it a very engaging story that never loses its Pace throughout the course of the early 2 hours. Sofia Lebedeva who is still young in her career does a very impressive job with the limited amount of screen time that she has playing essentially two different characters a naive interpreter versus a more Stern KGB officer defending the National Security of our country.
The serious and dramatic portrayal of this story does the film far more wonders than tackling it from a comedic standpoint cuz it allows the audience to understand the seriousness of the situation at hand which makes a far more engaging story than a movie that would refuse to take a subject like this seriously.
Tetris is an absolute diamond in the rough of dark pile of streaming service films that does the job of a major motion picture. Tetris is certainly a pick for one of the best movies of the year.