In Tetris, Taron Egerton plays Dutch video game creator Henk Rogers, the man behind Bullet-Proof Software. Henk is first seen in the movie at a video game convention in Las Vegas, where he falls in love with the title game and purchases some of its rights. The main issue is that nobody is really sure who owns which distribution rights, including Nintendo executives togo Igawa and Minoru Arakawa, Robert Stein, and Robert and Kevin Maxwell of Mirrorsoft (Roger Allam and Anthony Boyle) (Toby Jones). Tetris designer Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Yefremov), a Soviet citizen, is at the core of it all. Henk travels back and forth behind the iron Curtain with the other contenders for the Tetris distribution rights as the legal dispute over the game's ownership escalates. Tetris may end up being the most well-known video game of all time.
Every gamer is aware with the level structure used in Tetris, and as the stakes rise, so do the levels. It's a fun way to add the look and feel of Tetris to a movie that isn't really about the video game, which is the major flaw in the movie. There are also times when the movie is rendered in pixelated and scene-establishing shots are taken in video game format. The film examines the struggle over Tetris' distribution rights, which is as boring a topic as it sounds. Tetris tries to take this tale beyond the pages of history, and the movie suffers as a result. It can be confusing at times to determine who is fighting for what rights in which country (Japan, America, the USSR), and this ambiguity makes it challenging to get invested in the main plotline of Tetris.
Thankfully, Egerton and Yefremov are the movie's secret weapons. The Kingsman trilogy may be Egerton's most well-known work, but the actor has also shown he can handle softer (or at least less explosive) material in the AppleTV+ series Black Bird and the Elton john biography Rocketman. Egerton portrays Henk in this scene with a desperate hope that compels one to root for him despite everything. It also helps that the movie depicts Henk with his family. But what actually makes Tetris playable is Henk's friendship with Alexey, which improves what would otherwise be a perplexing middle section of meetings and rights talk.
In the end, Tetris doesn't offer much that is truly breath-takingly exciting, which is okay. It may intend for the audience to believe that the stakes are high, but it's acceptable if they aren't. Tetris is centred on a fish out of water dramedy about Rogers travelling to the Soviets to acquire Tetris' rights. Egerton fully commits to the part, demonstrating that he can play an everyman as effortlessly as Elton john can use bombast. Tetris has a two-hour length, but even though it doesn't always stay together, Egerton and Yefremov's chemistry makes the movie more than the sum of its parts.
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