Review: A Hologram For The King
Director: Tom Tykwer
By Sarah Stopforth
“Expect the unexpected” is the perfect way to describe A Hologram For The King. America’s sweetheart Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Toy Story) plays a fish-out-of-water salesman, Alan Clay, whose life is forever changed when he travels to Saudi Arabia for the business deal of a lifetime: literally presenting a hologram to a King. Based on the 2012 novel of the same name by Dave Eggers.
Much like the trailer, the film opens with the wonderful dream-like sequence of Clay reciting slightly reworded lyrics from the Talking Heads hit song “Once in a Lifetime”, outlining how his once perfect life has become a joke in a very salesman-like tone, as his large automobile, beautiful house and beautiful wife vanish in a puff of surreal, purple smoke… He asks himself “How did I get here?”
The film follows Clay’s downward spiral in the daily struggle of living in a foreign country and trying to get what he needs to pitch his product to the king. Luckily a kind young taxi driver named Yousuf (Alexander Black) becomes a source of transport and general support to Clay. His taste in music is particularly wonderful, playing “You’re The Inspiration” from the band Chicago in his cab is no doubt my favourite part of this film.
Eventually, the stress begins to eat him alive in the form of an unusual lump on his spine. Enter Doctor Zahra (Sarita Choudhury) to heal his troubles away. My favourite scene of the pair includes them snorkeling in the most crystal-clear, turquoise water you have ever seen and it is so picturesque and romantic, I CAN’T DEAL.
A Hologram For The King has some really great moments that are all in the attention to detail. I was not expecting these gems and thus made the film what it is; no matter where you are in the big, wild, world, it’s who you are with, whom you take those adventures with and who you listen to the music with that makes every moment once in a lifetime.