By Stefan Pape,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Political thriller based on real events; threat, language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Never give up on your dreams. Set during the Cold War, politics is portrayed as a dark and shady world, where people in power abuse their position, inflicting violence on those who they believe to be betraying their nation.
Positive Role Models
Henk Rogers put himself in dangerous, compromising situations and risks the future of his family on his dream of bringing Tetris to a global audience. Although he does so with the best intentions, wishing for a better life for him and his family, he becomes overly obsessed and in turn neglects his wife and children. But he makes amends. Other supporting characters bribe and deceive.
The film takes place within a male-dominated industry and the majority of characters are White males with little agency given to any female characters. There is an interracial relationship at the center of the film, between an American man and a Japanese woman. Scenes take place in Japan, though most of the film is set in Russia.
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Violence & Scariness
Violence mainly alluded to rather than shown. Political intimidation including threats to family members for perceived betrayal. A character is beaten up by the authorities and has their trousers stolen. Character is punched in the face and another headbutts someone in retaliation. Car chase scene.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character is seen kissing another in a brief act of infidelity.
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Occasional use of the word "f--k" as well as "s--t," "pr--k," and "whore." A character refers to the Russians as "Commie bastards" on more than one occasion.
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Products & Purchases
The film is centered around a real game, Tetris, and is overly praiseworthy about the game-playing experience. Nintendo features a lot, and in a positive light, with the company considered the "good guys" of the story.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters are seen smoking on occasion, even at their desk at work. Drinking throughout -- including at work and to celebrate success -- though never to excess.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tetris is a political thriller -- based on real events -- about how the iconic video game reached a global audience. Set in the late 1980s during the Cold War, the film studies the differences between communism and capitalism. Central character Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) becomes obsessed with the idea of securing the rights to the game, and in turn neglects his family, putting himself and them in danger, both physically and financially. But he means well, and has good intentions. Other characters deceive and bribe, while the Soviet Union is shown using intimidation and violence to get what they want. Characters are beaten up, though the violence is never very graphic. The language is strong on occasion, with several uses of the word "f--k," while characters refer to their Russian counterparts as "Commie bastards." The cast is mostly White male. Rogers is married to a Japanese woman called Akemi (Ayane Nagabuchi). However, she is very much a bit-part role with not a great deal of depth. Characters are seen smoking and drinking, often at their desk at work, reflecting the era depicted.
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Based on 3 parent reviews
Fun movie with great messages
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What's the Story?
Based on real events, Henk Rogers (Taron Egerton) was the opportunist and idealistic businessman who risked everything to bring TETRIS to the masses. Joining forces with inventor of the game, Alexey Pajitnov (Nikita Efremov), the pair find themselves in a dark, maze-like world that pits communism against capitalism, involving Japan, the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom, all fighting for the rights for this soon-to-be triumphant game.
Is It Any Good?
There is so much more to this historical drama than meets the eye. Rather than a by-the-numbers biopic about the man who discovered a game that went on to obtain global popularity, what transpires is an incredibly political thriller that pits nations against one another, with Tetris in the middle of it all. By the latter stages, the constant back and forth, contract disputes, and loopholes, do grow a little tedious. But Egerton keeps the story watchable, playing Rogers with a satisfying blend of wide-eyed idealism and a beat-up worn-out demeanor. Credit must also go to director Jon S. Baird who adds some creative touches that carry the film when the narrative wanes. This includes the use of graphics from the game and a soundtrack reflective of the era. An enjoyable film but one that fails to capture the addictive magic of the game.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the era that Tetris took place in. How did the political climate at the time impact the story? What do you know about the Cold War? Has the film inspired you to learn more about it?
What examples of courage, perseverance, and teamwork can you give from the film. Why are these such important character strengths to have?
Talk about the use of strong language in the movie. Did it seem necessary or excessive? What did it contribute to the film?
How was drinking and smoking depicted in the film? Were they glamorized? How has our behavior when it comes to drinking and smoking changed from when the movie was set?
The film explores the differences between communism and capitalism. What do you understand these two ideologies to mean?
- In theaters: March 24, 2023
- On DVD or streaming: March 31, 2023
- Cast: Taron Egerton, Toby Jones, Roger Allam
- Director: Jon S. Baird
- Studio: Apple TV+
- Genre: Thriller
- Topics: History
- Character Strengths: Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: for language
- Last updated: June 9, 2023
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