A Hologram for the King — Reader Q&A
A Hologram for the King Official Trailer #1 (2016) - Tom Hanks Drama HD
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T om Hanks is an inherently likable actor. Alan Clay Hanks arrives in the Middle East with a lot on his mind. Reeling from a recent bitter divorce and trying to stave off imminent foreclosure, Clay needs to land a career-saving IT contract by making a big sale to the king for a massive development in the desert. Shortly after landing, still jetlagged and under intense pressure to deliver from his superiors back in Boston, Clay is dismayed to learn that the king is nowhere to be found. Complicating matters is a large, suspicious growth that Clay discovers on his back. Its only in its final passages that the film settles into a welcome groove, exploring the tender romance between Clay and Haken. Tykwer, who previously worked with Hanks on the similarly overstuffed Cloud Atlas , throws his arsenal of film-making tricks at the screen best put to use in his breakthrough thriller Run Lola Run in a series of dream sequences, and a debaucherous party scene at a Danish embassy that would make Caligula blush.
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A Hologram for the King is a comedy-drama film directed, written and co-scored by Tom Tykwer , based on the novel of the same name written by Dave Eggers ,   and starring Tom Hanks as a washed-up corporate salesman, who goes to Saudi Arabia to propose a business deal. Alan Clay Tom Hanks is a salesman for American tech company Relyand, who is sent to sell a holographic teleconferencing system to the Saudi government by overseeing a presentation for the king. The only reason he was offered the job in Saudi Arabia was that he had once met a nephew of the king. Alan is haunted by his former job at bicycle manufacturer Schwinn where he was responsible for outsourcing production to China which led to several hundred people losing their jobs and, in the long run, the financial ruin of the company. He is also depressed because of a messy and costly divorce which leaves him destitute and unable to financially support his daughter Kit Tracey Fairaway. Oversleeping on the first day due to jet lag, he misses the shuttle bus to the King's Metropolis of Economy and Trade a fictionalized version of King Abdullah Economic City ,  where the sales presentation is to take place.
A Hologram for the King is the latest in a slew of slightly uncomfortable Americans-in-the-Middle-East movies lampooned by the critics for getting things culturally wonky. Hologram , directed by Tom Tykwer Cloud Atlas , Run Lola Run , stars Tom Hanks as a Willy Loman character, a salesman down on his luck, who finds himself in Saudi Arabia with the unenviable task of selling hologram telecommunication software to a king who seems unlikely to appear. The film is based loosely on the book of the same name by Dave Eggers who used his own experiences on a trip to Jeddah to write the novel and whose steps were traced by Tykwer before making the film. And while nobody has come out and called it racist, it riffs on the borderline of acceptability and reveals in its choices a world view that is unsympathetic if not ignorant about the region it is portraying. Within the first five minutes, we have a joke about terrorism, there are sandstorms, camels by the roads, and everyone portrayed is either filthy rich or below the poverty line. And although some of the locals are friendly and accommodating to Clay, he at one point makes an unwise joke about being with the CIA and finds himself, albeit briefly, in hot water with men who own a very large collection of guns. Clay is a Midwestern everyman who, if played by anybody other than Hanks, most audiences would dislike intensely.
It takes an actor with the finesse of Tom Hanks to turn a story of confusion, perplexity, frustration and panic into an agreeably uncomfortable comedy. His performance elevates an ominous, downbeat reflection on American decline and runaway technology into a subdued absurdist farce with dark geopolitical undercurrents. The movie is set in , when America was still reeling from the financial crisis and months before the beginning of the Arab Spring uprisings that eventually transformed much of the Middle East into a grisly battleground. All at once, we have landed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in a topsy-turvy world of technological disruption and hierarchal imbalance. Alan is in a wretched state when he arrives. Later in the movie, we see a brief, underwhelming demonstration of its wonders. From the moment Alan lands, he encounters humiliating obstacles.