By: Russ Matthews
The brilliance of Tetris is how such a simple game could become so addictive and then maintain its hold on generations of players.
Alexey Pajitnov’s video game continues to be one of the most played games in history and Hollywood though the story behind its creation should be told.
Tetris was created by Pajitnov (Nikita Yefremov) while working at the Moscow Academy of Sciences in his spare time over the summer. Since Russians could not profit from games then in Communist Russia, he shared it with some of his friends for free. This led to a spiral effect as it was shared with office workers nationwide and eventually was on most office computers within months. The game was ultimately licensed outside the country by various companies until software developer Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) of Bullet-Proof Software got the Japanese rights. This is where things get interesting as the story takes a turn that mixes a bit of humour, The Social Network, Jason Bourne, and Argo together for a mad capped worldwide adventure.
An Obscure Topic Can Make a Compelling Film
For those who wonder how they made a compelling film about gaining the rights to a video game in the 1980s, Tetris does manage to do that very thing. Admittedly, they take dramatic license with the original tale to spice things up. Still, the details at the heart of the story make for an entertaining ride for those who enjoy the game and those who have never played it. Director Jon S. Baird (Stan & Ollie) captures the look and feel of the era. He shows how much we miss in global business dealing in this time of email, video conferencing, and the internet. As he crafts a narrative that utilises the simple imagery of video games from that decade, his creative storytelling will draw the viewer into this tale similarly to the game itself.
Russia has come a long way since this time in history, as they have gone on to terrorise nations via hacking methods. This look back in history shows how far the world has come in a short time, from its reliance on air travel, fax machines, and the time when Gameboys ruled the planet. Along with the setting, the cast is perfectly chosen to represent all parties involved in this historical retelling of sordid business tactics and governmental affairs.
Did These Things Really Happen?
Taron Egerton leads this film with the swagger of an American businessman who thinks every door should be open to him. Yet, the assortment of brilliant supporting actors like Roger Allam, Toby Jones, and Oleg Stefan will draw the audience in and keep them engaged until the unlikely conclusion.
The most distracting part of the film for most amateur historians will be wondering if these events occurred in this manner. Despite this potential distraction and the artistic license of the screenplay, the majority of the events did happen. These additional elements merely add to the film’s dramatic tension without diminishing the heart of the story. Tetris does manage to make for a captivating undertaking that is worth playing along with during this season.
REEL DIALOGUE: Taking risks
Risk: exposure to the chance of injury or loss; a hazard or dangerous chance
Faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing
Like many films of entrepreneurs and businesses, Henk Rogers’ story is one of taking risks. Tetris does show how far some people are willing to go to follow a dream they believe to be true. The reason we can relate to his story on some level may be the fact that risk-taking is a part of every part of life. Merely getting out of bed in the morning can be perilous for some people.
“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything. In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.” Ecclesiastes 11:4-6
The topic of risk opens up another matter of faith. Many risk-takers in life may have different answers to what they put their faith in during the decision-making process. Is it themselves, others or God they trust when discussing risks?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5
One thing can be said regardless of the answer to the above question. Trusting in God does provide peace that surpasses understanding. It does not eliminate the fact that risk comes into everyone’s life, but with God, the results are squarely in His hands and, in the end, makes the risk, well… less risky.
Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.
All images: Movie stills
About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.