Taron Egerton shines in this film that ingeniously blends nostalgia with a gripping thriller. The story opens with Henk Rogers making a pitch to a bored Japanese bank executive about the true potential of what he’s selling. As Henk narrates his globe-trotting journey to acquire the rights to a video game, the audience is treated to stunningly produced sequences that are seamlessly edited by Colin Goudie, Ben Mills, and Martin Walsh. However, the constant globe-hopping can be wearisome for some viewers.
As the story moves to Russia in 1988, director Jon S. Baird expertly slows down the pace, building tension and suspense. Written by Nick Pink, the opening portion of the film sets the stage for what happens to Henk when he seeks the sales rights from the game’s creator, Alexey Pajitnov, stumbling into a dangerous hornet’s nest where Communist Party security officials, Japanese interests, a software salesman, and Nintendo all compete against each other to acquire the rights to publish a video game that would become a worldwide smash.
With multiple layers of legitimate business dealings cloaked in duplicitous and criminal activity, it is challenging to decipher how much of this “inspired by a true story” movie is, in fact, true and how much is pumped-up artifice. However, by the end of the movie, you won’t care because the story and the characters are that compelling.
Taron Egerton portrays a good-hearted family man who is married to a loving and supportive wife, played by Ayane Nagabuchi, with multiple adorable children. Henk’s desire to secure his family’s financial future is palpable, and his loyalty to his employees and his small software company in Japan is commendable. The supporting cast is equally colourful, and the film moves at a pace that slowly picks up speed, resembling a good video game that is irresistible to play.
Overall, the film is a nostalgic and thrilling ride that expertly blends both genres into a captivating story.
Tetris will be available to stream from Apple TV+ on March 31st.