- Historical Fiction
Fix: Video Game Origin; Based on a True Story; Cold War Suspense; You Might Think This is an SNL Digital Short, But It’s Real
Platform: Apple TV+
Apple TV+ Summary:
Based on the true story of American video game salesman Henk Rogers and his discovery of Tetris in 1988. When he sets out to bring the game to the world, he enters a dangerous web of lies and corruption behind the Iron Curtain.
When video game creator/publisher Henk Rogers first sees Tetris at a tradeshow in 1988, he knows it’s the next big thing and leverages everything he has to acquire rights to distribute it. But when he goes to the USSR to nail down additional rights, he discovers that his initial deal wasn’t exactly on the up-and-up. And certain individuals in the failing Soviet Union will do whatever they can to set themselves up for the future.
Taron Edgerton as Henk Rogers
I adore Edgerton and his chameleon-like acting abilities. He can swing from a charming yet “wrong side of the tracks rough” type in the Kingsman franchise to literal Elton John in Rocketman and make stops all along the way. Rogers is a bit closer to Elton—he’s a charming salesman type—but with the “do what it takes when push comes to shove” of Eggsy. The mustache (and cowboy boot-enhanced swagger) is kind of ridiculous, but looking at photos of the actual Rogers in 1988, it was spot-on.
Toby Jones as Robert Stein
Jones is a brilliant character actor who often plays a similar type of role: a morally grey character who ends up shooting himself in the foot by the end of the movie. Stein fits that mold; he’s the original person to bring Tetris out of the USSR but doesn’t cross all his T’s or dot his I’s and so ends up with a crappy deal in the end. I feel for him, but Jones has the kind of face/plays Stein with the kind of attitude that makes me feel like he also deserved it.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Kids 6 and Up
Tetris is a strange kind of movie that seems like one thing to start but ends up taking you on a wild ride through a dangerous and intriguing time in world history. The game is for people age 6 and up and the movie doesn’t feature anything that would offend younger sensibilities, but I also don’t think kiddos would find it very interesting. That said, unlike the game which is a solo one, the movie is one that is great to share … with adults. (We watched it with our 14-year-old niece and she liked it OK, but certainly not as much as we did.)
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Viewer’s Choice
Tetris isn’t a movie that connects very well to any one drink, unless you want to get stereotypical with vodka (because Soviet Union). It’s also not a movie that had to be fully paid attention to, however, so feel free to imbibe as you wish.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Surprising
I wasn’t sure what to make of Tetris before watching it, but I was surprisingly pleased by the film on the whole. It’s the kind of “based on a true story” movie that’s just outlandish enough to feel like a fantasy and will have you frequently looking things up on the Internet during slower moments to see which parts are really real.