A Hologram for the King (2016)
Critic Consensus: A Hologram for the King amiably ambles through a narrative desert, saved by an oasis of a performance from the ever-dependable Tom Hanks.
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as Alan Clay
as Dr. Hadad
as Young Alan Clay
as Joe Trivoli
as Prince Jalawi
as Catherine Flynn
as Catherine Flynn
as Ruby Clay
as Karim Al-Ahmad
as Zahra's Driver
as Party Guest
as Young Ron
as Party Man
as Alan's Colleague
as Cousin #1
as Jasem the Shopkeeper
as Edward - Clerk
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Critic Reviews for A Hologram for the King
For all the high-tech lingo, there's nothing new to feel or see.
Hanks is often cast as the dependable American everyman type. Here, he shows a darker, more anxious side to that character. It is one of his richest recent performances.
This is a whimsical comedy that falls through the memory like sand through your hand.
Hanks brings much interest to his laconic, bereft character, chasing the bird of happiness. He is quite the perfect actor to play an American suffering while the US is in economic decline - because he was such a star when it wasn't.
Audience Reviews for A Hologram for the King
Tom Hanks stars in the mediocre comedic drama A Hologram for the King. Based on a novel, the story follows an American businessman who's sent to Saudi Araba to pitch a cutting edge telecommunications system to the king, but the stress from the culture shock soon starts to take an emotional and physical toll. Hanks delivers an excellent performance as usual, and is really too good for this film. The script is poorly written, with a lot of story threads that don't go anywhere and an enigmatic conclusion that doesn't resolve much. Still, it explores some interesting themes about adapting to modernization and foreign cultures. And there's some satiric comedy that's kind of funny. Yet overall, A Hologram for the King lacks a clear focus and its characters are underdeveloped.
Hanks is great but the film is very flat in the final third. I think the love story was too much, just a few little hints for a connection would've left an ambiguous ending for the character. The ending felt like a tack on when this film is more an indie story and the heart strings weren't required. Maybe the book spelt it out but the film didn't need to, just annoyed the filmmakers didn't lose that unsatisfying conclusion to what was a 4 star film.
Tom Hanks takes us to Saudi Arabia where he's a fish-out-of-water Yank unacquainted with the local customs, some of which could be very dangerous, but it's kept light overall. The biggest shocker for him is a promiscuous Dane, but its this light tone that keeps the film from fully engaging. In one scene Hanks closest Saudi buddy walks in on him with a Saudi woman and things nearly get nuclear pretty fast, but this opportunity, and many others, get passed by for the sake of that light tone. As it is, we're left with a Better Homes and Gardens version that begs in favor of diversity while avoiding some ugly truths.
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