Synopsis: Tetris brings us the true story of how one of the world’s most popular video games found its way to players around the globe. Businessman Henk Rogers and Tetris inventor Alexey Pajitnov join forces in the USSR, risking it all to bring Tetris to the masses.
When down on his luck software developer/salesman Henk Rogers finds a small game called Tetris while attending a technology fair he starts an incredible journey when he secures the Japanese Software License for the Handheld Console and Arcade Game Rights. However, when he learns that rival software company Mirrorsoft has beaten him to the Arcade Rights. Henk soon learns that no one has any of the rights to the game. At least not according to The Soviet Union and the company where the games creator Alexey Pajitnov worked. Further complicating matters was the fact that Russia at that time didn’t have copyright laws that could facilitate international licensing for games. So when Henk goes after finding out how he can secure the rights of the game. He finds himself in a three-way negotiation between The Soviet Union, Robert Stein, and Kevin Maxwell’s Software company Mirrorsoft. And given that Kevin Maxwell had the backing of his Billionaire father Robert Maxwell. Henk and Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov find themselves fighting an uphill battle against the bigger dogs in the playground.
Taron Egerton puts in a fantastic performance as Henk Rogers who much of the story is focused around. One of the first scenes we see is when Henk discovers Tetris and goes right to his bank manager to renegotiate his business loans to the tune of $3 Million. Which is chump change given how much Tetris would eventually go on to make.
Egerton is at his best when playing the scenes where it seems that Henk’s back is against the wall. So pretty much most of the scenes in Russia when he comes up against Nikolai Belikov (Oleg Stefan) who introduces Henk to Alexey Pajitnov as they try to hash out a deal for the Soviet Union, which is politically beginning to fray at the edges. We get some marvelous scenes between Henk and Alexey Pajitnov who is played brilliantly by Nikita Efremov. Perhaps my favorite moment is when we see the two men bonding over trying to make improvements to the game, which was a really believable moment. But we also get some fun moments. One is the car chase that we see through the streets of Moscow.
The cast is rounded out by Toby Jones who plays the middle man (Robert Stein) that both Henk and Kevin Maxwell (Anthony Boyle) were using to secure the international rights for the game. It’s pretty obvious that Stein was banking on the fact that neither Party would investigate the origins of the game. We also get a fun performance from Roger Allam who plays the late Media Tycoon Robert Maxwell as an overbearing father and ruthless businessman.
Tetris is one hell of a fun movie as we witness the hoops that Henk Rogers had to jump through in order to secure the international games license to sell Tetris across all computer and console platforms. The acting is solid throughout the film and we also get some fun graphical representations used to illustrate key moments throughout the story. One such moment is a rather amusing car chase that happens toward the end of the movie when Henk and Alexey are rushing to the Airport in the race to get their deal sorted.
Overall. This is a really fun feel-good movie and is based on a true underdog story, which illustrates how oftentimes the truth can be stranger than fiction.
Tetris is available to stream now on Apple TV Plus. And the game is available in various forms across multiple formats.
- CGI & Stunts9.7
- Incidental Music10