Tetris review: An engaging dramatization of a true story

Tetris narrates the story of how Henk Rogers, a businessman, acquired the rights to one of the most popular video games in the world. The film is now streaming on Apple TV+.


Henk Rogers, a businessman, is the founder of a company that develops and publishes video games. He comes across a game called Tetris, and he knows this could be his chance to build a better life for himself and his family.

He buys the PC, games console, and arcade rights for Tetris in Japan from a company called Mirrorsoft, which is owned by a billionaire media tycoon named Robert Maxwell, only to have Robert’s son, Kevin, sell the arcade rights to another compant. 

Henk signs a deal with Nintendo and is allowed to publish Tetris for them. When he is shown the Game Boy, Nintendo’s new handheld device, he convinces them to package it with Tetris, which means he must acquire the handheld rights from a company called ELORG in Moscow. 

Henk is not the only one who travels to Moscow for these rights. There are other players involved in this game, including the Maxwells, the KGB, corrupt officials, and the man who discovered the game first, Robert Stein.

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In Moscow, Henk realizes things are not what they seem, but he is ready to risk everything, including his life, to get the rights to Tetris.


Taron Egerton’s performance is one of the best things about the film. Egerton’s presence holds weight, and he demands complete attention from the audience. The film is as much, if not more, about Henk as it is about Tetris.

Igor Grabuzov, as Valentin Trifonov, convinces the audience that he is a corrupt official who knows that the end of communism is near and must do whatever is needed to secure his own future. However, he is not always as frightening as one would expect him to be.

While Valentin represents the officials of the Soviet Union, Roger Allam and Anthony Boyle are the archetypal capitalist businessmen. Whenever they come on-screen, they manage to entertain the audience.


The film is about Tetris, the video game, but it also has a political undertone to it. The audience gets to see the problems that had become deeply entrenched in society and led to the downfall of the Soviet Union from the perspective of a common man, Alexey.

The film does not turn Henk acquiring the rights into something meaningful or grand. Henk is ready to risk everything for his capitalist desire to make more money and not for his family; his wife points out that they had a life even before he found Tetris.

There is just the right amount of comedy in the film. When things get too intense, these scenes provide comic relief and keep the audience entertained even when a negotiation is going on.

There is a contrast between the scenes that take place in the Soviet Union and the ones outside it. The cinematography and the sets contribute to the tense atmosphere of the dreary Moscow, while they attach a sense of freedom and safety to the ones outside it.


The film does its best to include recognizable animation used in video games in the film. For the most part, it works well, but sometimes the video game animation gets a little too much; there is a car chase scene that could have been better without the animation.

The film might confuse the audience at times if they do not know anything about Sega, Nintendo, Atari, and more, as the film can be full of information about different deals between different companies.


Tetris is a thriller based on a true story that also includes comedy and politics. It is a good film that will keep the audience engaged till the very end with its plot and Taron Egerton’s brilliant performance.

Tetris review: An engaging dramatization of a true story 1

Director: Jon S. Baird

Date Created: 2023-03-31 18:34

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Tetris ending explained: Does Henk get the rights to Tetris?