Starring Taron Egerton, Nikita Efremov, and Toby Jones, written by Noah Pink, and directed by Jon S. Baird.

I used to play the game, Tetris, on my mom’s cell phone. It only had a few games like bowling and minesweeper, but Tetris was the most addicting. This was during the time before smart phones and the phone was a rectangle with no fancy ringtones or apps. I dreamt of having my own phone so I could play Tetris whenever I wanted.

So, I guess you could say this movie was made for me.


Taron has a knack for disappearing into roles, from Elton John in Rocketman to James Keene in Black Bird. His choice of voice for Hank Rogers immediately made me see him as the character and not as himself. For many actors who have had notable roles, it can be hard to see them as a new, totally different character. But Taron’s acting skills take care of that. Love you, Eggsy.

from Apple TV on YouTube

A Humorous Thriller

When I heard Taron describe this film as wacky and fun, I didn’t know what to expect. How could a movie about the creation and distribution of a video game be wacky and fun? But after I met Henk, it all became quite clear. Then throw Alexey (Nikita Efremov) into the mix and the dynamic is quite humorous.

Add some Soviets for good measure, a political angle, suspense, and some great music, and you get a dramatic, historical, thriller, (dry) comedy. I love my adjectives.

Creative Touches

At important parts of the story, video game play mirrors what is happening in the real life narrative. The suspense and action build as visuals alternate between video game graphics and reality, kindly reminding the viewer that, after all, we are watching a movie about a video game. Overall, this was done tastefully so it did not feel corny (it would have if it was overdone).

The soundtrack is wicked. The Final Countdown scene is epic (it gave me goosebumps). The music sets the scenes and showcases the time period effortlessly.

Culture Shock

History was never my favorite subject at school. When I became an adult, I started to find more value in it, but I still have to be in the mood to entertain a history lesson.

That being said, the language and cultural barrier between all of the people involved in the Tetris distribution debacle provided enough humor to keep me interested and honed in. For instance, when some Soviets/Russians acted as if they did not speak English, even when they did. That’s a power move, and the comedy of the situation is hilarious.

I also appreciate how the story shed light on how ignorant Americans can take liberties and freedoms for granted because we are used to having them. Watching what Alexey and his family had to endure was necessary for the audience to understand what he was risking in order to support Henk.

My Favorite Quotes

Alexey and Henk respectively, “I do not have [the] right to receive money from my game.” “Well, that’s criminal.” “No, that’s communism.”

Alexey mentions, “Good ideas have no borders.”

One of the bad guys boasts, “Go home and thanks for the Levi’s.”

Alexey smiles, “Life is hard and we deserve our small celebrations.”

Alexey’s wife on Henk, “He’s dumb but he’s honest.”

“No time for American emotion.” (When Alexey and Henk have to separate at the airport because the Soviets are zeroing in.)

Rating: 8 out of 10.

My Rating: 8/10

Alexey and Henk are interesting people. So are Robert Stein and the Maxwells. Kevin, specifically, is a jerk. I feel like Kevin is the name of many jerks from movies. Just kidding, I love Home Alone.

Tetris is serious and funny, and to make it even crazier, it’s based on a true story! The film is well done— from the soundtrack, to the video game transitions, to the intersection of tones: thriller, comedy, and historical nonfiction.

The plot made me pick my nails and tap my feet. What else could you ask for? While the beginning was a little slow, the momentum built gradually and then crescendoed into a frenzy. Also, the bad Russian guy a.k.a. Robert Stein (Toby Jones) looks like he could be related to Nevel Papperman from iCarly.

Sentence Summary

When Henk Rogers plays Tetris, he becomes so entranced in the game that he bets his entire life on the assumption that everyone in the world will love the game as much as he does.

Where you can watch it:

It’s only available to watch on Apple TV+.

p.s. Dear autocorrect, please stop “correcting” Taron to Aaron. Taron is not an Aaron. Thank you very much.


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