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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Tetris - A Puzzling Journey into the World of a Classic Game

Rating: ★★★½

Release Date 3-31-2023 Watched 4-5-2023 Reviewed 4-6-2023

Viewed on Apple TV+

"I played Tetris for five minutes, yeah. I still see falling blocks in my dreams."

Falling into place just like the iconic game it's based on, Apple+'s Tetris movie is a slow burner that gradually builds up to a satisfying conclusion. While it may not reach the dizzying heights of its source material, it does manage to create an experience that's worth watching, especially for fans of the timeless game.

The film starts off with a somewhat sluggish pace, but don't be too quick to dismiss it. The early focus on the game's humble beginnings and its enigmatic creator, Alexey Pajitnov, may not be as thrilling as some would hope, but it serves as a necessary foundation for the story to unfold. As the narrative delves deeper into the competitive and cutthroat world of how Tetris finally got licensed and sent out to the world, the stakes are raised, and the movie finds its footing.

In a world of fast-paced action flicks, it's refreshing to see a movie that takes the time to develop its characters and immerse the audience in their story. The cinematography does a good job of contrasting the vibrant game with its rather dark original homeland, Soviet Russia. The use of a synth-heavy soundtrack transports us back to the 1980s and 1990s, evoking feelings of nostalgia and adding to the film's overall appeal.

The ensemble cast delivers solid performances, with a standout turn by the actors portraying Pajitnov and Rogers; they bring a captivating blend of vulnerability and determination to their roles. It's through Nikita Mikhailovich Yefremov's performance as Pajitnov that we come to understand the challenges faced by the game's creator and the sacrifices he made to bring Tetris to the world.

While Tetris is not without its flaws, it gains momentum as it progresses, culminating in a nail-biting showdown during a high-stakes negotiation for the rights to market the game worldwide. The film effectively conveys the exhilaration of business, kind of like the tension of a Tetris match, leaving viewers on the edge of their seats as the blocks fall faster and the pressure mounts.

In summary, Tetris may not be a cinematic masterpiece, but it's a solid and intriguing look into the world of one of the most influential games in history. Give it a chance, and you'll find yourself drawn into the compelling story and characters, just like the hypnotic gameplay of Tetris itself.

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