Tetris, the next original movie for Apple TV+, has already debuted at the SXSW festival, and it seems that Taron Egerton managed to conquer the public once again with a true story, just like he did in 2019 with Rocketman, the Elton John biopic.
Tetris is a logic video game originally designed and programmed by Alexei Pazhitnov in the Soviet Union. It was released on June 6, 1984, while he worked for the Dorodnitsyn Computing Center of the Soviet Union Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Its name derives from the Greek numerical prefix tetra and from tennis, Pazhitnov’s favorite sport.
The film tells the incredible story of how one of the most popular video games on the planet reached avid gamers around the world. Henk Rogers (Egerton) discovers Tetris in 1988, 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.
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Mashable describes Tetris as a “surprisingly smart, silly, and satisfying adventure that combines the stranger-than-fiction story of its making with an ardent embrace of the game’s aesthetic and nostalgia for the era more broadly.”
Awards Watch goes a little further and calls the film “a deep story that goes beyond a political thriller tropes and dirty entanglement of webs and deceit, because at its heart is a story about integrity and honesty, as we see Henk and Alexey – and even a few Russian allies – come together to do the right thing.”
Deadline reviews it as “simply riveting, playing more like a Cold War-era international spy thriller rather than a manual for acquiring rights to a Russian video game. Yes, that latter sentence is what makes up the bones of this story, but I guarantee you will be on the edge of your seat, and remarkably it is all true.”
ComicBook Resources finds a particular way to describe it, calling Tetris a combination between Bridge of Spies meets Succession. Recognizing “this may seem like an unlikely tonal fusion, but the stark difference between the two — and the differing kinds of danger they present — creates the ideal space for Egerton’s Henk to flounder and flourish alike. Tetris tells a wild true story in a very fun way, keeping the story’s legal and political intrigues without getting bogged by them. Elevated by a strong cast and good direction that knows when to lean funny and when to lean tense, Tetris is a winner.”
But it’s not all good news for the movie, as The Wrap finds some historical problems in Tetris: “The makers of the movie consistently fight against their better impulses whenever they try to find deeper and/or period-specific meaning in their hagiographic drama. Some half-hearted scenes set in and around Moscow try and fail to suggest what life was like in the Soviet Union.”
Tetris is set to release on Mar. 31.
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