In the year that we had Deadpool, Batman vs Superman,Suicide Squad, LA LA Land, Bourneand many more big movies, 2016 was a great year for film eh? Hologram For The Kingdidn’t get as much attention as I feel it perhaps deserved…..disclaimer, I’m a huge Tom Hanks fan, who isn’t? And I guess, a story about a man going to work in Saudi Arabia on a presentation involving a hologram, was probably going to find it difficult to compete but this is a special film.
An adaptation of Dave Eggers book (of the same title) written and directed by Tom Twyker (Run Lola Run, Cloud Atlas, Sense 8) we are taken straight into the despair of Alan’s life (Hanks) with a popular 80s track serving as a musical backdrop, to cartoonish visuals, that are both whimsical and worrying at the same time. Which rather sets the tone for this quirky, comedy, slash surreal, slash semi-thriller (okay I’ll stop the slashes now) movie. Alan travels to Saudi Arabia to mange his team (already there) preparing a special presentation, to sell a programme to the King, a King who, for all intents and purposes has no plans on showing up. Alan’s strikes a relationship with Yousef, who becomes his personal driver and only friend, played by Alexander Black (who stars in the upcoming film Berlin I love You, also starring Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren and Luke Wilson). The pair form an usual but genuine comedy duo. Also in the mix is Alan’s doctor and seemingly off limits love interest, Zahara, played by Sarita Choudhury (Lady In The Water, Hunger Gamesand Homeland) they too have undeniable chemistry. A formidable cast, which also includes a very unexpected but most welcome appearance by Ben Whishaw.
Twyker exposes the differences between the east and western cultures, in a way that really does put you in the shoes of what it is like to be an outsider but as a westerner, which I think is very interesting. A beautifully told story about the uncertainty of life, the willingness to say yes, chance happenings and how your life can completely transform and become something so different from everything you’ve ever known.
I know I laid my cards from the beginning about being a Tom Hanks fan but this is one of his finest performances.
A gem of a film that is definitely worth the watch.