Verdict: Taron Egerton is well cast as the charming lead of this biographical drama, which turns into a nail-biting thriller towards the end

Taron Egerton plays video game developer and entrepreneur Henk Rogers in a biographical drama about the ’80s game Tetris.

If you’re unaware of the intellectual property battle over the Tetris game in the ’80s, then you’re in for a thrilling ride.

The biographical drama tells the story of video game developer and businessman Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton), who discovers Tetris at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in 1988.

Knowing he has a hit in front of him, Rogers wastes no time in securing certain rights to the puzzle game – but achieving the licensing deals he wants is not easy.

In fact, the game is caught up in a complicated web of rights between Rogers, Robert Stein (Toby Jones), Robert Maxwell (Roger Allam) and his son Kevin (Anthony Boyle).

Deciding it best to go to the source, Rogers risks it all by going to Cold War-era Russia to meet Tetris inventor Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov) and fight for the right to sell Tetris to the masses.

You must be wondering how this can be a “thrilling ride” – admittedly, it’s not that exciting to start with.

The film is pretty slow in the beginning and it’s rather confusing trying to follow who owns what rights.

In 1988, the rights were divided by country/region and then computer, video game and arcade – but with the upcoming launch of Nintendo’s Game Boy, lucrative handheld rights came up for grabs.

The first hour takes a while to get going because it needs to introduce all the players, explain what rights they have and set up the story ready for the Russian portion of the narrative.

This is where the film gets tense because the Russians do not want Americans profiting off of Russian property.

Rogers is threatened and ordered to leave the country but he persists, knowing he has staked his family’s livelihood on the game.

The last hour really makes up for the slow start and becomes more of a thriller, complete with car chases, double-crossing agents and an intense dash to the airport.

While these are unlikely to be true, they were needed to up the stakes, drama and momentum and the story is exciting and gripping from there until the nail-biting finale.

Egerton is well cast as the charming businessman who needs to use his powers of persuasion to beat the competition.

Rogers also has what the others don’t – he wants Pajitnov to have a piece of the pie too and they become friends (and later co-founders of The Tetris Company).

Tetris doesn’t sound that exciting based on the premise but it ends up being a really engaging film that shines a light on an incredible true story.

On Apple TV+ from Friday 31st March.

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