It doesn’t take a film expert to know that Tom Hanks has a great track record in Hollywood. He has starred in so many of our much loved classics meaning that any film he stars in is guaranteed to muster up a good level of intrigue in the film community. His most recent film ‘Bridge of Spies’ saw a reunion with director Steven Spielberg and whilst I really wasn’t a fan the general consensus was very positive. Could that positivity continue with ‘A Hologram For The King’?
The cast of the film all do a good job, it’s no surprise to discover than Hanks performs well, has he ever not? He brings a certain, but not fully-fledged likeability to the character which was necessary to engage with the film. Alongside him and possibly stealing the show was Alexander Black who plays driver Yousef. ‘A Hologram For The King’ is actually Black’s first film role but if you’d told me that this guy had been in the acting game for a few years I wouldn’t have doubted it. Other than that there aren’t many other recurring characters of much significance. Sarita Choudhury plays a doctor that Hank’s character encounters throughout the course of the film and like her surrounding cast she performs to a good standard. For the most part the chemistry is believable between the characters but at times the narrative halts things a little too soon or doesn’t quite pick things up as early as it should have. Although something that you will pick up is the catchy song that is used in the trailer and the film, it’s been in my head ever since!
As I was saying, the narrative has an odd structure really. The setting of Saudi Arabia is more just a context for the more character driven narrative. However, there is an interesting story here. Hank’s character, Alan Clay is a salesman selling a revolutionary technology to an Arab King. We get glimpses of this plot point inbetween meditative moments from the main character and chances for him to really find himself. It’s the context that I always found more interesting though, I would rather have watched a film about the struggle to close this sale and a more in depth look at this holographic technology. The film doesn’t become bad because of its ignorance of this element to the narrative but I thought it was duller than it should have been as a result. Although the odd flashy sports car or architecturally stunning building that appeared now and then always spiked my interest just as it was beginning to flag. There’s also some humour included, most of which featured in the trailer but it’s still effective in the main film. This is much thanks to the chemistry between Hanks and Blacks characters. Holograms and self discovery aside though, a road-trip movie with these two characters at the centre is what this film should have been!
Tom Hanks is nearly always a watchable lead regardless of the film and ‘A Hologram For The King’ is a project that certainly benefited from his involvement. I found the secondary and contextual elements of the narrative to be more interesting than the main plot and at times found things a little dull. The film has a way of constantly sucking you back in though, through it’s aesthetically pleasing setting, sporadic comedy or odd structure meaning that whilst by no means being a great film ‘A Hologram For The King’ is enjoyable for its run time.
Rating – 6/10
Question: What is your favourite Tom Hanks film?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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