This must be the year of the video game in cinema with the releases of The Super Mario Brothers and Tetris films. Who doesn’t remember buying a Gameboy loaded with those games and actually crashing the gaming console? Just saying.
Directed by Jon S. Baird and streaming on Apple TV Plus, Tetris follows how one of the world’s most popular video games found its way to players around the globe including businessman Henk Rogers. Ultimately, Rogers and Tetris inventor Alexey Pajitnov join forces in the USSR, risking it all to bring Tetris to the masses. The fact that Rogers almost ruined his marriage and risked losing his family for the bigger picture is simultaneously admirable and frightening. Not to mention Alexey, almost identically falling into the fate that soiled his father’s reputation some years prior.
It’s one thing to know about the game, but quite another to be educated about the entrenchment of the Soviet Union and Robert Maxwell regarding the sale and rights of this game on a global scale. In addition to the unveiled drama, espionage and in-fighting between gaming giants Atari and Nintendo for the rights to sell via gaming consoles, arcades and online. The fact that Maxwell was involved with this scenario from a political and financial standpoint will truly have your brain swirling at his confidence (Mikhail) Gorbachev would back his outrageous, deviant plans. I mean who brokers a deal with no cash on hand and only a promise?
Premiering earlier this year at SXSW, it goes without saying that Taron Egerton as Hank Rogers and Nikita Efremov as Alexey Pajitnov keep audiences engaged with not only their performances, but how they jump into the skin of the real-life men they are inhabit.
Baird does an exemplary job of keeping all the nail biting drama and intrigue up to a fevered pitch leaving mouths agape more often than not.