Tetris (Biography, Drama) [Based on True Story] (2023)
Director: Jon S. Baird
Writer: Noah Pink
Stars: Taron Egerton, Nikita Efremov, Oleg Stefan, Toby Jones
Discovering the videogame Tetris, only just being shown in the United States. A young man tries to license the game for Nintendo, travelling to Russia in an attempt to write up a lucrative contract securing the publishing rights for Tetris.
Premiering at the South By Southwest Film Festival, Jon S. Baird directs an adaptation of the true story around the early days of Tetris during the Cold War. Filming took place across Glasgow, and Aberdeen, Scotland, with several reshoots. Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris, stated the eventual product wasn’t as accurate but close enough, capturing the emotional tones of the time. ‘’Tetris’’ was produced by Imagine Entertainment, AI Film, Marv Studios, Unigram and Apple Studios, which also distributed it on Apple TV+.
During 1988, at the Consumer Electronics Show, Henk Rogers (Taron Edgerton) markets his latest videogame, a version of Boardgame GO. While at the convention, he stumbles upon his assistant playing the Russian-made game Tetris. Rogers quickly sees the potential and strives to obtain production rights for several systems, striking a deal with Japanese videogame company Nintendo. In a race with several other companies, he travels to Moscow, Russia—trying to make a deal for Tetris.
With a subject filled with legalities set against the cold backdrop of Soviet Russia, Baird and Pink provide an exciting feature highlighting intrigue and tension as every deal could go wrong at the drop of a dime.
Before that straight block lands perfectly, clearing a multitude of lines ‘’Tetris’’ begins using stylised intros, comparable to ‘’Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’’ with an old-school videogame soundtrack. What could indubitably appear dull is polished with these elements to support the acting performances, building tension as three different companies vie for rights they’re not even entirely aware of yet… It strives forward in a fast-paced narrative, rarely giving the viewer any opportunity to get bored. Alongside tension, comedy notes aren’t as prevalent as in ‘’Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game’’ but they are undoubtedly noticeable enough.
Where Baird’s film shines most isn’t even the subject matter, it is compelling but narrative development and a constant tension throughout make ‘’Tetris’’ an example of how such films with historical connotations most interesting, assisted by a stellar cast, significantly Edgerton has grown into his own ever since most got introduced to him with ‘’Kingsman: The Secret Service’’.
In the end, not only does ‘’Tetris’’ make a relatively stale subject exciting, it also shows intelligence in script-writing, creating an incredibly accessible film about falling blocks.
Every block falls into place.