Starring: Taron Egerton, Nikita Efremov, Toby Jones, Roger Allam, Anthony Boyle, Oleg Shtefanko, Sofia Lebedeva, Igor Grabuzov, and Ayane Nagabuchi
Director: Jon S. Baird
Spearheaded by an electrifying performance from Taron Egerton, Tetris is a full-tilt blast of a film that absolutely captivates from start to finish. Jon S. Baird's clever and inventive direction, bolstered by Alwin H. Küchler's dynamic cinematography, creates a pot-boiling thriller with enough video game references sprinkled in to please any casual fan of a certain age. While likely closer to zero percent than a hundred in terms of accuracy, the movie nevertheless is a two-hour rollercoaster of moves and countermoves, deftly capturing the political tension of the 1980s. A must watch!
While Tetris features a wild story and is an engaging watch, it’s a bit of a tonal mishmash. There are scenes of steely corporate intrigue and bleak, Cold War-era politics juxtaposed with a retro, 8-bit vibe that is inherently fun and silly. Those moments of silliness deflate the seriousness of the dangerous events occurring, which I guess is the point, but it causes a lot of whiplash. Still, even though some of the contract legalese about gaming rights can get a little confusing, Taron Egerton’s (mustachioed) performance and the overall tale is more than enough to make this an easy movie to recommend.
Taron Egerton is doing something odd in Tetris. He has an infectious energy that is heightened by a weirdly annoying accent and cadence; the type of annoying that pokes and prods and doesn’t leave you alone until you agree to whatever craziness it’s spewing. That’s what this movie does. It quickly pulls you into a tense gambit of political intrigue, business machinations, and spy games that grabs your heart and keeps it racing non-stop. The story is expertly fashioned to make this unbelievable tale about one of the most famous video games in the world a crafty, stylized political thriller. Who knew?
Tetris is one of those “so crazy it must be true” stories, and Apple has yet another hit on its hands…a hit that boasts one of Taron Egerton’s best performances. The transitions are sleek, employing a colorful use of stylish 8-bit that perfectly captures the aesthetic, and the synthy score only adds to it. It’s a fun ride that blends elements of The Founder and Argo while infusing them with a great deal of wit. If it were released during awards season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tetris snag some nominations.
Tetris is definitely worth hitting the play button on. While the film can feel a little silly and over the top at times, it works because of the fascinating tale being told about one of pop culture’s biggest games, a game we’ve all played and love. I promise you, if you love the classic game, you’ll be captivated by this somewhat humorous cloak-and-dagger thriller. Other than it feeling like a friendlier version of The Social Network, the film flourishes due to its fun and offbeat origin story and Taron Egerton’s energetic screen presence.
Like the game, there’s something very infectious and lovable about Tetris. Maybe it’s Taron Egerton’s committed performance that you can’t help but fall for, maybe it’s the 8-bit style that gives the film an interesting edge - it’s hard to pick. Either way, I do wish the film’s tone reached the heights that the bonkers true story seems to deserve. I found myself constantly asking myself, “this didn’t happen, right?” Overall, it strikes a nice chord for someone like me, a viewer that loves to be entertained while I learn.