The story of how one of the world’s most popular video games found its way to players around the globe. Businessman Henk Rogers and Tetris inventor Alexey Pajitnov join forces in the USSR, risking it all to bring Tetris to the masses.

The puzzle game ‘Tetris’ is one of the most popular video games of all time, remaining popular despite advancements in video game technology due to its adaptability – from computers to consoles to mobile phones, it remains a game that is played regularly almost 40 years after its creation. Thankfully, ‘Tetris’ isn’t another attempt to turn a popular video game into a movie, but instead a biographical drama about the race to license and patent the game in the late 1980s towards the end of the Cold War.

Tetris’ was created by Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov), a Soviet programmer who worked for ELORG, a government owned computer hardware and software developer in the Soviet Union during the communist era. Learning about this game at a conference, Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) sets out to acquire the worldwide rights to produce and sell the game across the globe, pitting himself against the secret Soviet system of the time as well as several other prospective buyers, some of whom (allegedly) have far deeper pockets than Rogers company Bullet-Proof Software. There’s a modern day gold rush feel to this action, as various people jostle to get ahead of the competition at the beginning of this burgeoning industry.

As a movie, there’s enough intrigue and drama in the real life events to form a decent story, even as I felt the movie struggled to truly spark into life as it jumped from character to character and office to office. Director Jon S. Baird tries to inject more colour and energy into proceedings through a well chosen 80s soundtrack and some neat 8-bit animation, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is mostly a series of (sometimes tense) negotiations about the rights to a video game, and there’s only so much enjoyment one can take from that.

Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Jon S. Baird

Starring: Taron Egerton, Nikita Efremov, Sofia Lebedeva, Anthony Boyle, Ben Miles, Ken Yamamura, Igor Grabuzov, Oleg Shtefanko, Ayana Nagabuchi, Rick Yune, Roger Allam, Toby Jones, Togo Igawa, Matthew Marsh, Ieva Andrejevaite and Kanon Narumi


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