By Sarah Smith
When Tom Hanks is set to star in a motion picture, chances are you’ll know about the film. However, A Hologram for the King was released last week with dismal advertising prior to its debut.
The film, set in 2010, depicts a washed-up American salesman who tries to sell a holographic teleconferencing system to the Saudi Arabian government. The salesman, Alan Clay (Hanks) lost his house and got divorced after the Great Recession of ’07 and ’08 and in a last chance effort to turn his business around, tries to sell his idea to the Saudi king.
Clay’s character is a loner whose reclusiveness is offset by a Saudi Arabian driver (Alexander Black) who adds a little personality to the bland film.
The movie gives off a scattered plot with Hanks’ character realizing that the Saudi government isn’t helpful when it comes to his idea coming to life. The Saudi Arabian king is late for meetings and the city that Clay thinks is underway is nothing more than a desert.
As the movie progresses a romance is suddenly thrown in proving that director Tom Tykwer didn’t know how to seamlessly put the film together. His take on Dave Egger‘s novel is hardly worth seeing (and apparently not worth advertising, either).
One of the most eye-catching moments was the opening sequence where Clay sings “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads. But even dream sequences and jokes about working for the CIA can’t save this film from what it is: a wishy-washy picture that wouldn’t stand on its’ own without Hanks.
Overall, A Hologram for the King is one of those lackluster films that you can wait to see once it’s out on DVD.