I spent literally hours during college playing the video game Tetris on Nintendo. I spent so much time that I realized that I had to be careful with my video game playing or else I could lose myself in them. Tetris was easily my favorite of the games we played.

Now, a new Apple TV + film starring Taron Egerton has been released telling the story of the high stakes efforts to bring Tetris to Game Boy and spread it to the consumers of the world.

One would not believe that a story about worldwide video game rights could be as gripping as this movie was. In fact, when I first heard about Tetris being in production, I pictured those other films that deal with the game in more youthful ways. Tetris is anything but. In fact, this has much more in common with a Cold War thriller than it does with Sonic the Hedgehog or Pixels.

Based on a true story, Tetris tells the story “of how one of the world’s most popular video games found its way to players around the globe. Businessman Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) and Tetris inventor Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov) join forces in the USSR, risking it all to bring Tetris to the masses.” (IMDB)

One of the most fascinating aspects of the film was the look at the pre-fall Soviet Union and how the government kept their people in control. The use of the KGB and the surveillance of foreigners was extremely intriguing.

Henk Rogers was portrayed as an honest man and one of the few people in the film that was being above board. Taron Egerton does an excellent job in this lead role, and, even though I knew Tetris was making it out because I played it so much, I was anxious to see how it actually came about. Henk was an easy protagonist to root for and there were plenty of opposing antagonists that gave a variety of conflicts for him.

There was a feel of “Argo” about this movie, especially the escape near the end. While much of the film had been exaggerated, things added were exciting and worked very well within the context of the narrative.

Toby Jones appeared as Robert Stein, who was attempting to get the rights from the Soviets as well. Jones is always great and he disappears into the roles.

Other actors involved in important roles in Tetris included Oleg Stefan, Roger Allam, Anthony Boyle, Ayane Nagabuchi, Sofya Lebedeva, Rick Yune and Ben Miles.

This film kept my attention despite it basically being about video game rights and contracts and a solid performance helped sell the adventure. The mysterious culture and rules behind the Soviet Union kept this absorbing.

4.1 stars

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