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‘Tetris’ Review: Taron Egerton in Compelling Game Origin, but Missed Potential

'Tetris' Review: Taron Egerton in Compelling Game Origin, but Missed Potential

Tetris, a film about the creation of the famous video game, is more than just an ordinary origin story. Director Jon S. Baird uses the licensing battle around the game to frame a drama about capitalism, intellectual property, and the fall of the Soviet Union. The film features zippy car chases, farcical negotiation scenes, and a tour of 1980s conference rooms around the world, which make you forget you’re watching a movie about a video game.

The story starts with Henk Rogers, played by Taron Egerton, trying to sell his game, Go, at a convention in Las Vegas. He’s stationed next to Tetris, a far more captivating game. Henk investigates and finds an addictive puzzle game invented by a Russian computer engineer, Alexey Pajitnov, portrayed by Nikita Efremov. The game’s simple aesthetic and straightforward goal drew players in, and the brief thrill of incremental problem-solving kept them hooked.

Tetris is a film that explores the relationship between creative expression and greed. The movie is more absorbing than the average streamer fare, but it leaves you wanting more. The characters’ ambivalence towards this relationship isn’t explored enough. Nevertheless, Tetris is a sturdy and occasionally funny drama that tackles significant themes. It will be available on Apple TV+ at the end of March.

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The characters in “Tetris” are portrayed in a way that occasionally makes them feel like avatars. Noah Pink’s screenplay provides solid enough foundations for us to comprehend the motives of each character, but not enough to make them fully developed. Taron Egerton, playing Henk, is portrayed with an earnest goofiness, making him a symbol of integrity and honesty. He’s more interested in seeing Alexey receive credit and royalties than obtaining the license for distribution. The other businessmen, such as Robert and the Maxwells, have little concern for the inventor.

As the story progresses, Henk arrives in Rconverges and discovers a system that is unsympathetic to his Western ideals, as well as numerous vultures. There’s Nikolai Belikov, Alexey’s company manager, whose motives boil down to getting the best deal for the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, corrupt KGB officer Valentin Trifonov wants to secure a personal safety net before the current regime falls. As the cadre of businessmen converge in Russia, the stakes rise and the ridiculousness of their situations becomes increasingly apparent, resulting in an entertaining sequence of events. 

As “Tetris” approaches its final act, the film delves deeper into questions about intellectual property, capital, and who loses when greed is prioritized above all else.

About the author


Steven Ly

Steven Ly is the Startup Program and Events Manager at TheNextHint Inc. She recruits rockstar startups for all TC events including Disrupt, meetups, Sessions, and more both domestically and internationally. Previously, she helped produce Dreamforce with Salesforce and Next '17 with Google. Prior to that, she was on the advertising teams at both Facebook and AdRoll, helping support advertisers in North America and helped grow those brands globally. Outside of work, Priya enjoys Flywheel, tacos, the 49ers, and adventuring around the globe.

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