Tom Tyker’s A Hologram for the King is amiable thanks to the central performance. The film is ambles along, focusing on the journey rather than the destination.
After failing in his role as an executive, Alan travels from America to Saudi Arabia with the aim of selling a video conferencing system to the king. Waiting for the king to arrive, Alan has time to reflect…
A Hologram for the King is based on Dave Eggers novel of the same name. The film focuses on protagonist Alan and the pressure for him to make the sale. As the film progresses, the narrative concerns Alan’s state of mind; flashbacks reveal what is plaguing him whilst his health worries bring things into focus. A Hologram for the King is a journey to realisation, rather than a neat conclusion.
The underlying theme of writer-director Tom Twyker’s film is the decline of America. This is played out in a more prominent way further into the film, with Alan’s dreams providing an everyman example of recession. Meanwhile, Alan himself becomes the personification of the decline; transforming an industry that creates to one that sells. Some of this preoccupation is heavy-handed, but overall the film gets its point across.
The film mixes comedy with drama. Some sequences work better than others, with the film moving glacially towards its conclusion. The film is really a one-man show; the supporting characters are functional but not really fleshed out. Tom Hanks offers as likeable performance as ever. Hanks seems effortlessly comfortable in the role, and brings his trademark charm. The opening sequence sets the tone for the film. As strange as it is, the film works more often than not.
Owing to the ponderous nature of the narrative, A Hologram for the King is not the most memorable film. Nevertheless, it is perfectly watchable movie that should entertain a wider audience beyond Tom Hanks fans.