In Tetris, Taron Egerton risks everything for a game that changed how the world played
Tetris is one of those games that almost everyone has played at some point in their life. Gaming had typically been seen as the realm of the ‘gamer geek’, someone with limited social skills but almost God-like reflexes and abilities with a control pad. It seemed closed off to regular people before the arrival of games like Tetris.
Tetris is directed by Jon S. Baird and tells the unbelievable true origin story of one of the most popular games in the world. Taking us on a dangerous jet setting adventure spanning the old Soviet Union, the United States and Japan.
In the true tradition of an underdog story, Tetris was created by Alexey Pajitnov, a programmer looking for something fun to do outside of his mind-numbing government programming job. The communist Soviet Union at that time didn’t allow individuals to profit from such enterprise so the game practically became the property of the Russian State.
Taron Egerton plays Henk Rogers, a struggling game developer and CEO of Bullet Proof Software. After a chance encounter with an unlicenced copy of Tetris at an entertainment show, he falls in love with the game. He has a vision of it not only being the saviour of his company but a wonderful gift that must be shared with world. He proceeds to bet everything including his home on gaining the rights to this game. He risks his own life tricking and scheming his way into the heart of government in the Soviet Union to fulfil his dream of bringing this game to the world.
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Films like this are always fascinating to watch and somewhat unbelievable. The idea that someone could stake so much on just a dream or belief seems farfetched. It’s easy to look back now with hindsight and see that the game became a worldwide phenomenon but watching the film you really get the sense that everything is on the line, and it could just as easily fail, which it almost did a few times.
Taron Egerton continues his run of solid performances and is great as Henk Rogers, the man with the dream. Sometimes with films about video games, directors can get carried away trying to incorporate those elements visually into the film, but I feel director Jon S Baird got the mix spot on.
The gritty streets of Russia in the 80s where most of the film is set are nicely juxtaposed with the bright colourful blocks of Tetris. It serves as a perfect reminder that even the simplest most beautiful ideas can come from harsh environments. The 80s soundtrack is great without being overpowering and really fuels the energy of the decade, albeit from an Eastern perspective rather than the West.
Tetris is a great watch with an engaging cast. It’s fascinating looking at events from behind the scenes. Even more amazing to consider how a game could become a global phenomenon in the backdrop of the cold War. While the east and west were looking for ways out of conflict, a game like Tetris was used as a political tool to gain advantage. Recommended for gamers, history buffs and fans of political dramas alike.
Watch the Trailer here
I’m just going to sit down and finally watch this one this weekend. I don’t have Apple TV – but I’m kitty sitting..and they do! 🙂