The Tetris movie is as exhilarating and fun as the game.
I was originally skeptical when I heard about Tetris. How are they going to make a movie about the shapes? Are the shapes going to be characters? Is this going to be some weird cash grab like a movie based on emojis? Then I read the logline and immediately got interested. The story of the world’s most famous game makes way more sense than a movie about shapes being personified. 1984 was a big year for the world, and a lot of things changed. This is the story of how a simple game about dropping blocks to make a solid lane, changed the world and what we know about gaming, forever.
Tetris is About Falling Blocks and Rising Freedom
Much like the game, the historical events that brought the world its most iconic game had to have all the right pieces fall into place. When things went correctly obstacles were cleared out, but when they didn’t, problems just stacked up. The film very much follows the flow of a round of Tetris. The problems keep stacking up, and even though the characters remove obstacles, more keep coming. And as more stack, the fast they seem to come. The closer we get to the end, the higher the tension builds, and then the needed piece drops and turn after turn more and more obstacles are cleared.
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I’m not sure if it was narratively designed to be like that, but it definitely plays out that way. And the carefully chosen moments to Tetrisize elements on screen lead me to believe it was deliberate.
I am not sure how historically accurate it is, though the timing does line up, but Tetris seems to be one of the major events that lead to the fall of the Soviet Union. As a Russian property, going global and being monetized the way it was was a huge step for their culture and people. It also served to act as proof of similarity with the world rather than separation and differentiation. While many might see it as a mere game, the film treats it as fine art that is powerful enough to change the world. And as we know, Tetris did in fact change the world.
These Pieces Fit Together Perfectly
Tetris has an awesome cast. Taron Egerton has incredible range as an actor. It is astounding to see him in these semi-action scenes and actually react and behave like a normal person and believe he could not action hero his way out of it. I have watched Kingsmen multiple times, Eggsy would have no problem, but Egerton fully brings Henk Rogers to life, making the audience believe Rogers’ limitations are in fact his. Though the highlight of his performance is definitely his interaction with Nikita Efremov.
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Eferemov’s performance is subtle but impactful. For the majority of the film he plays Alexy Pajitnov very reserved, but with a deep and slightly uncontainable desire to stand out. It is emblematic of the time, and it gets drawn out more and more the more time Pajitnov and Rogers spend together. Efremov adds a lot of depth to the would-be boring manner Pajitnov first employs when meeting Rogers. The subtle but significant development makes him the soul of the film.
The rest of the Tetris cast provides spectacular support. Ayane Nagabuchi as Akemi Rogers has a fabulous scene where she switches from a supportive wife to the head of the household and instills some perspective into Henk Rogers. Oleg Stefan as a self-thinking diplomat. Toby Jones as the weaselly Robert Stein. Roger Allam and Anthony Boyle as the pompous billionaires. Regardless of their screen time everyone fully delivers and drives their part of the story.
A Perfect Clear
Tetris, much like the game it is based on, is the sleeper hit you don’t expect. It’s a very interesting story that is incredibly told. The cinematography and editing ensure that pacing and engagement are always peaked, and the incredible cast brings it all to life. Jon S. Baird really deserves tremendous credit for bringing it together so superbly. Tetris does the impossible job of telling a story, teaching about a historically significant time period, and being thoroughly entertaining the entire time.
For being the surprise gotta-see movie of the season, I give Tetris an 8/10.
Tetris releases March 31, 2023, exclusively on Apple TV+
Release Date: March 31, 2023, exclusively on Apple TV+
Director: Jon S. Baird
Producers: Gillian Berrie, Gregor Cameron, Matthew Vaughn, Len Blavatnik
Production Companies: Marv Studios, Access Industries
Distributed by: Apple TV+
Music By: Lorne Balfe
MPAA Rating: R
Cast: Taron Egerton, Nikita Efremov, Sofia Lebedeva, Anthony Boyle
“Tetris” tells the unbelievable story of how one of the world’s most popular video games found its way to avid players around the globe. Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) discovers Tetris in 1988, and then risks everything by traveling to the Soviet Union, where he joins forces with inventor Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov) to bring the game to the masses. Based on a true story, “Tetris” is a Cold War–era thriller on steroids, with double-crossing villains, unlikely heroes, and a nail-biting race to the finish.
What do you think about the Tetris movie? Did you have any idea of how the game came to be? Which version of the game is your favorite? Let us know your thoughts and impressions about the movie on social media!
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