A Hologram for the King (2016) Poster

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5/10
Disappointing Treatment of Much-Praised Book
vsks25 April 2016
Not every comedy is for everyone (at least I think this was supposed to be a comedy). Last week I saw The Big Lebowski (1998) at the local movie theater. Packed. People in Lebowski t-shirts, people who raised hands to show they'd seen the movie five, ten, twenty times, people anticipating the laugh lines. Eighteen years from now, nothing like that will happen with this film from German director Tom Twyker. Tom Hanks is American businessman Alan Clay, whose marriage is over and whose career as a salesman is on the skids. In what appears to be a last chance at success, he's sent to Saudi Arabia to sell the king on a costly holographic teleconferencing system for a new city being built in the desert. He encounters bureaucratic delays, clandestine alcohol consumption, confounding cultural gaps, and unexpected romance. Where I messed up was in thinking, "Oh, Tom Hanks. He's always great." Someone so talented just wouldn't be in a mediocre film. Why would he? And, I thought, "Oh, Dave Eggers wrote the book it's based on. Got lots of praise for it too." For example, New York Times reviewer Pico Iyer called the book "an anguished investigation into how and where American self-confidence got lost and — in the central word another lonely expat uses for Alan— 'defeated.'" And the Boston Globe: "True genius." Someplace along the way, the promise of the book and Hanks got lost, and a more disjointed and implausible narrative is hard to imagine. When we're told that the crowds Hanks saw at a mosque were there because "that's where the executions are," it's hard to believe that a Saudi woman would take the very great risk of being alone with him, an American infidel. Hanks does get to drive a very sexy 2015 Audi R8, briefly. But even that isn't worth the ticket price.
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5/10
Does this title draw you in?
Quietb-127 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Tom Hanks plays a fish out water unless it's bottled. It's a clash of cultures movie that is mildly entertaining. There are some humorous moments that make you wish it was more of a comedy and less of a drama.

It's hard to believe this movie would have been made if they didn't have Tom Hanks. He drags this through the dessert on his shoulders. There's an awkward series of scenes at a party and plenty of redundant scenes about the daily grind of doing business in Saudi Arabia while waiting for the King.

The back story of the karma of Hanks selling out Schwinn bikes to China comes back to haunt him. The love story feels forced and it seemed as Rita Wilson had approval of the female lead.

The good news is this movie is short. It is also very forgettable. No need to track it down on it's limited run, as it will be a bit more enjoyable for a quiet evening at home.
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9/10
A Hologram for the King: A good film. Besides: is there such thing as a bad Tom Hanks' film?
niutta-enrico31 July 2016
A good film about being 60, being alone, being abroad and being open-minded.

Tom Hanks is a troubled man sent to KSA to sell something on behalf of a big American Corporate. And there he clashes with Arabic Culture in his usual thoughtful and suspended-judgment way.

I won't tell you what happens, of course, but after a quick look to the other reviews (someone even claims to have fallen asleep) I understood that not everyone have liked it. And I'm surprised but I won't comment.

I would just say, for those who could possibly share my feelings, that this was a good film: interesting, clever and not slow at all. Just, maybe, a little different. Images are great and the story depicts nicely our difficult times. Besides: is there a such thing as a bad Tom Hanks' film?
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1/10
Painfully Bad
mduffy5217 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Just an awful film and very disappointing for me because I love Tom Hank's films. But he doesn't even look like he wants to be here. He supposedly goes to SA to save a deal with the Saudi gov't. but spends about 5 minutes doing what he was theoretically there for. Mostly he drinks a LOT and repeatedly wakes up late in the hotel (what, this businessman doesn't know to ask the front desk for a wake-up call!?). Aside from the "business" aspects of this movie, i.e., why his character is in Saudi Arabia to begin with (takes up about 10 minutes total in the movie), there is a romantic encounter with a (MARRIED) Saudi woman.

Let me be real clear here. I worked for a year in SA (and my oldest son was actually born there which is another story and a half in itself) and this "romance" would NEVER happen. These folks have known each other for like 2 weeks (timeline is non-existent in this movie) and she goes topless swimming with him? But what is really unbelievable here is that a married Saudi woman (or any Saudi woman) would be alone with him in the first place (forget the driver, they would be Korean, Pakistani, Chinese, etc., i.e, non-persons as far as the Saudis are concerned). She would be completely compromised no matter how innocent she was! I understand she is getting a divorce from her husband but here she is sill married. What would happen in SA if her husband found out about this behavior is very simple - he had the right and he probably would kill her as a matter of honor or, at a minimum, beat her into a coma, and he would never, ever be charged or prosecuted. And even if Hank's character didn't know this, she would, and would never put the two of them in such a dangerously compromising situation.

Save yourself the misery and give this clunker a wide berth.
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5/10
H is for Hologram. I is for Inconsistent. J is for Jumble. K is for King.
bob-the-movie-man26 May 2016
In terms of bankable movie experiences, you can seldom go wrong with a Tom Hanks movie can you? While there are a few pages in his portfolio he might prefer to forget ("The Bonfire of the Vanities" anyone?) his movies are nearly all eminently watchable. And "A Hologram for the King" puts him into what might be deemed a 'preferred' character role for his acting style – an every-man in a strange land facing trials and tribulations with hearty American bonhomie. But here it doesn't really work, and it's not even Hanks' fault. Hanks plays struggling salesman Alan who is given a do-or-die mission to sell one of his company's holographic videoconferencing systems to the King of Saudi Arabia as a way into winning a big IT supply contract for a new desert city being constructed. Promising his bosses success, he arrives to find a deflated demonstration team struggling to put on a show with the lack of the basic essentials: wi-fi; air-con; food! Alan has to battle with both local custom and obstructive secretaries to try to save the day, helped by his driver Yousef (newcomer Alexander Black). Adding extra pressure to the mix is his marital status - Alan is recently divorced, and needing to financially support his daughter Kit (Tracey Fairaway) through college - and an alarming cyst that has suddenly appeared on his back. The latter requires the tender care of local doctor Zara (Sarita Choudhury, possibly best known as Saul's wife from "Homeland") and an unlikely cross-cultural friendship is struck up. I was really looking forward to seeing this movie, partly because I like Tom Hanks and partly because of the quirky Talking Heads "Once in a Lifetime" rendition in the trailer (which actually opens the film, and is great – I loved it). There are also a host of enjoyable episodic plot elements set against spectacular Arabian vistas that are memorable. However, that is all they are – episodes. Unfortunately, the whole film is a jumble of tidbits that never gel into any sort of satisfactory story arc: We have an "infidel in the middle of Mecca" scene, that suddenly ends without event or note; We head off on a wolf hunt that subsides into… well, I have no idea what: perhaps the denouement was supposed to mean something deep and meaningful, but it meant nothing to me; Even the main storyline tends to fizzle out to be replaced with an aquatic-based sub-story of inter-racial love. True that this romance is both touching and well done, but it feels entirely bolted on at the point you expect the film to end - it really doesn't integrate well. Blame for this must rest with writer/director Tom Twyker ("Run Lola Run" and the almost impenetrable Hanks movie "Cloud Atlas", which I must admit I never got to the end of on a plane!) I think Hanks should consider playing the "two strikes and you're out" card with this director. Hanks and Choudrey are fine in their leading roles, and the film really comes alive in the scenes between Hanks and Alexander Black as Yousef - his "driver, guide, hero!". There is really good chemistry between them, and although Black is a little too American- looking to genuinely pass as an Arab, he is effective and is probably the 'find' of the film. Sidse Babett Knudsen (from TV's "Borgen") is also very attractive and personable as the sex-starved Danish contractor Hanne. Also watch out for cameo's from Tom Skeritt and Ben Wishaw. But the acting talent - however hard they try - and the glorious cinematography (by Twyker regular Frank Griebe) can't make up for the erratic screenplay. This is a real shame, since the storyline around battling the adverse conditions of software demonstration abroad is a good one. As someone who used to work for IBM and did many demonstrations of this type in trade shows in far flung places in the Middle East, the Far East, Africa and South America, I have shared their pain, and it is enough to drive you to despair and madness. An opportunity squandered.
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1/10
Painfully stereotypical
galghaith30 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Being a Saudi woman studying in the US, I was prepared for a movie full of stereotypes that I usually encounter in my daily life. However, it was even worse than my imaginations!

Aside from the exaggerations and lies, there was no plot. I couldn't tell what the purpose of the movie was

Also, the Arabic language spoken wasn't even close to the Saudi accent! And mentioning things like it's rare to have Saudi female doctors, seriously?!!!!

It was a waste of time watching a poorly researched and written movie.

Tom Hanks' acting didn't live up to the expectations either.
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5/10
Can't put my finger on it......
abadguy4412 August 2016
I am not sure what I was expecting from this movie going in. Now that I have seen it, I am glad that my expectations were tempered. This movie lacked the traditional intensity that a Tom Hanks film usually delivers. I can't put my finger on just what I didn't like about the film. Was it the fact that this movie couldn't decide if it was a love story, or a comedy? Or that the underdevelopment of the characters left me scratching my head. Or that the storytelling seemed rushed in slow moving manner. In any case, I was disappointed in this movie when I walked out of the theater. I was a little surprised that Hanks even took this role after reading the script. This movie was beneath his talent. Anybody could have played the part and done just as well.
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7/10
Slow but watchable
Figgy66-915-59847029 May 2016
29 May 2016 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester Tonight - Hologram for the King. This film was a little surreal, I was never quite sure if the main character was dreaming the whole thing or not, this was not helped by a series of flashbacks that kept appearing throughout. However Tom Hanks was his usual sturdy unflappable self playing Alan a man who had failed in business and was now trying to succeed in a new career by selling an IT invention to an Arab King in Saudi Arabia. Failing in his marriage also and undergoing a bitter divorce, Alan is a bit lost when he arrives in Saudi and assumes the persona of a very beige type of man fighting his way through a very large sandstorm. However sparks of a more assertive person struggle through and we follow him on a journey of discovery. Not a huge raging river of a film, more a gentle stream meandering around and in danger of drying up in the Saudi desert. It doesn't dry up though and I found myself enjoying the tale immensely. Not everyone's cup of tea but worth a watch.
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7/10
American salesman negotiates strange Saudi culture
maurice_yacowar1 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This might have been titled Rebirth of a Salesman. The new Willy Low-man is Alan Clay, i.e. the quintessential man. Tom Hanks as the current representative American doesn't just have feet of clay; he is entirely vulnerable and crumbling.

Alan was reduced back to sales after his management ruined his old bike-making company. When he shifted his manufacturing to cheaper China they stole his models and began making their own bikes — but better and cheaper — and stole the industry.

He still flashes back to having to announce his US factory's closure, for which his father has still not forgiven him. A camping story recalls the father's lesson in self-reliance. By outsourcing its manufacturing Alan/America lost that essential value. No longer independent the once-powerful Alan/America suffers indignities and frustrations by having to go cap in hand to try to salvage a future by submission to an alien and antipathetic culture, i.e. Saudi Arabia.

The failed businessman also failed domestically, of course. His wife divorced him (for "not seeing the big picture"). He still has a tenuous relationship with his 20ish daughter — but he feels guilty for not being able to support her, to pay for her college, to provide for her future.

As befits a psychological analysis of America, the opening scene is Alan's dream. While he glibly offers a hearty pitch (product indeterminate so irrelevant), the key elements of his life explode in puffs of pink smoke behind him: his house, his wife, etc. He's flying to the Saudis where his new company depends on his selling the king on their new IT program for their plan to urbanize a desert.

The ensuing comedy derives from the fumblings of a stranger in a strange land. He can't adjust to the culture any more than to the time-lag. So he sleeps through his appointment times, only to find it doesn't matter. He was stood up anyway. He stumbles into meeting his elusive contact only to be dumped by him again. The guy lets him drive his flashy Audi but only because the American is no longer in the global driver's seat. The privilege is a taunt.

Obviously the key metaphor is the hologram of the title. Alan finally manages to show the king his company's impressive holography, where a "real" character interacts with a virtual figure. He creates the continuum between reality and illusion, substance and image, power and pretence. Despite the perfect presentation the Chinese beat Alan out again.

Though holography is the new, ultimate force of image-making, America has always defined itself by fabricated images. That's how Arthur Miller characterized his Loman, who taught his son the false importance of being "well-liked" and soared into failure with his suitcase and a smile. Falling for the image is the real failure to see the big picture.

Here the past image, the lost glory, is the Schwann bike, Alan's old company. The bike evokes America's lost station in the world, its mythic past of innocence, optimism, when it was a world power with clean hands and an unlimited future. Of course that was as illusory as the hologram.

The Danish Embassy party is an orgiastic release from the Saudi restrictions. Yet Alan is as out of his element there as in the Saudi culture. Its noise, fever and license seem like another dream. He declines the woman's offer of sex out of an uncertain mix of his purity and impotence.

Alan tries to negotiate the mysteries of the foreign culture. He's thrown by his driver's command of US pop music. He misses the banned booze — and suffers even more when he gets some. He's especially at sea with the differences in gender issues. In a climactic paradox the woman doctor swims topless with him — in order to divert suspicion! From behind, a topless woman and a man look the same, you see. The underwater frolic seems another dream, the positive replacement of the first.

In a side episode Alan has to deal with a growth on his back. It's an image of a burden, a threat that proves benign. In a drunken initiative he tries to cut it out himself, another failed self-reliance. He finally has it removed by his woman doctor, who returns to lance his malignant love-life as well.

If the romantic happy ending seems a bit forced and implausible — that's because it is. This cross-cultural relationship is our anodyne, our relief from reality, another version of the false image of domestic bliss Alan will be offering his clients when he sells them the new apartments yet to be built on the Saudi sands.

In that respect the entire film is a carefully selected image of Saudi Arabia. It's defined by its massive population, its alien dress and manners, its fervid religiosity, and its striking power. When someone decides to help Alan all his problems are immediately addressed. The huge and opulent buildings flash the new Muslim power, which dwarfs the American and leaves him helplessly dependent.

The film frames out any suggestion of the Saudis' support of terrorism, especially 9/11, and its current political play as a counterforce to the even more disruptive Iran. But that's fine. The connotations remain, especially as we see how the Saudi businessman plays his American partner. Spelling out that political reality would probably have been too big a boil for the back of this satiric and pointed comedy to bear.
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5/10
Meh
leechats7 May 2016
I read a review of this film that said something like "Tom Hanks at his best...", and all I thought was, "Did we see the same film?". Because after watching this, my first thought was, "Why did Tom Hanks want to do this? Anyone could have played that role. It's not a star vehicle and it's just not all that interesting."

I understand that this film was adapted from a novel. Now that I've seen this, I imagine the book must have been pretty interesting, but this just doesn't work for me as a film. It actually reminded me of the TV movies that were popular on network TV in the 70s and 80s. As a feature, I found it... slow. Meandering. Ultimately pointless.
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3/10
I found myself falling asleep...
paty_cavaco18 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A big disappointment!! I decided to watch the movie because of Tom Hanks, and I still can't understand how actors like him accept to participate in this type of movie. Initially we all think it's about a business with the SA king, but it's about everything in the world except that... He has problems with his daughter: 5 minutes of the film He likes his doctor: 20 minutes of the film. He is drunk: 10 minutes. He goes with his driver to nowhere: 15min I mean.. I ended knowing nothing about anyone, because the movie is definitely not deep... In the end, I just felt sad about the way women are treated in those countries... I already knew it, but it is different to watch it in front of us. And in the movie, it probably was a soft vision of SA society. Resume: I wouldn't watch this not even in my Friday afternoon... Totally waste of money
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1/10
A Terrible Script Written by Someone Watching CNN Growing Up
angelinaxl21 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Despite the plot being ridiculously unrealistic and white/America supremacist--yes, in the scriptwriters' opinion a married (you heard right, there is no mention in the film that she actually got the divorce) Saudi woman with two kids living with her can have an affair with a white guy from the U.S. without any problems because no one is going to find out, nor her kids or her husband--the stereotype of Saudi people, the Philipines and the Chinese in this film is just so cringe-worthy that made it too laughable for people from these cultures to be offended. I mean, seriously? You can't keep your company running and it's all the Chinese's fault? And the Chinese doctors who are obviously qualified to work in a Saudi hospital can't speak English? And your hologram project wasn't accepted because the Chinese stole the opportunities from you? Like really? Whose fault is it that your company's hologram equipment is so much slower and way more expensive? Oh yes, it's of course the Chinese's fault. Went to see the film on the premiere night at a screening event. Heard someone said "It's just a terribly written script to start with," on his way out. Way to go pathetic film scriptwriters who are too biased to see they are biased.
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4/10
A below average attempt at a comedy
alindsay-al14 June 2016
All I knew about this film was that it had tom hanks in it and because he is easily one of the best actors around I would give it a watch. The premise of the film sees hanks who is a businessman trying to sort out a deal in Saudi Arabia while trying to get his life back together. Now tom hanks is great in this film as you would expect, he just has that likability factor to him that makes you want to see him succeed. He deals with all the situations in a fun but relatable way that makes him a likable protagonist. I also quite like the character of yousef his driver. I felt like they had good chemistry together and their interactions were easily the funniest part of this film. However, I didn't really care about anybody else in this film. Whether it was the doctor who looks after him or his daughter I just didn't have a connection with either characters and maybe could have done without it. The story has a good journey of discovery for hanks as you see his character growing throughout the film. However, there is so much going on in this film that it is hard to focus on all the story arcs and it becomes a bit of a narrative mess. The script doesn't have enough funny moments in it to justify a decent script and most of the drama comes across as forced unless hanks is performing it well. The style is also a bit of a mess with the pacing being all over the place and making this film feel incredibly long when in reality it wasn't. Overall this is a very forgettable film that isn't really worth a watch.
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8/10
Hilarious, Heartfelt, and Human
gigagondy2 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This film is of the sort that is very rare in modern cinema (or the cinema of any period, really): a thoughtful, compelling story for adults in which the life of the protagonist gets better, not worse. A bombastic, jarring, and hilarious opening sequence fills us in on everything that's gone wrong in Alan Clay's (Tom Hanks) life- he's lost his house, his fancy car, his wife, and he's about to go to Saudi Arabia on business. He attributes all of his other problems (lack of energy, poor job performance, sexual impotence) to a benign tumor on his back. He struggles with a lack of Wi-Fi and air conditioning, a business "contact" that always seems to be out of town, indefinite delays, and the innumerable laws and customs of a foreign land. These Kafkaesque elements and director Tom Tykwer's touches of magical realism seem at first to shape A Hologram for the King into a surreal black comedy, the sort of story where the failed businessman is battered down by the inhumanity of capitalism and decides to kill himself rather than face the pathetic reality of his life. But Clay's Middle Eastern odyssey becomes strangely uplifting as he alternately battles and bumbles his way through all his woes. Hologram is never as single-faceted as the moral fable, financial drama, or culture-clash comedy it could have been; instead, it is a subtly heartfelt and frequently hilarious film that shows us that the human experience may not be as hopeless as most other "serious" movies would have you believe.
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4/10
Sad. Sad. Sad
brutzel10 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Recently divorced Alan Clay (Tom Hanks) is a struggling salesman who is sent to Saudi Arabia to get the king to purchase an I.T. program that uses holograms. He is on a tentative basis with his daughter Kit (Tracey Fairway) and is afraid he won't be able to pay for her college. Still she is supportive of him.

Sometimes I wonder why some movies are made in the first place as nothing really happens although we are kept waiting for something to happen. Sad. Alan undergoes a mild culture shock and one would think anyone going to a new country with far different cultural mores would - at the very least - learn some basic language greetings, and of course, his "howdy" doesn't do it. He asks for a beer in the hotel and is told it is not allowed. He meets a Saudi woman doctor Zahra (Sarita Choudhury) who is in the process of getting a divorce and he falls for her. At times they are both alone (Whaaaat?) Zahra does treat him for a cyst on his back. It is my understanding that woman doctors in Saudi Arabia only treat women. He experiences numerous delays that hinder meetings to get his company's product presented.

Alan does have a good relationship with his driver, Yousef (Alexander Black) but Yousef always has to check to see that his car won't be blown up by the husband of the wife he is sleeping with. Their banter in the car is pretty good, but the problem is this: Alan's driver would be a nationality other than a Saudi and not a Saudi. Alan sees mannequins in a store window that sport bikinis. Why the Director allows something like this that would never be allowed in this country is beyond me. Yousef brings Alan to his family who live in the mountains and he asks Alan if he would fight for him should Yousef decide to join a revolution. It is here we think the main plot will take form, but it seems those script pages were lost in the desert winds and this goes nowhere. When will something happen? We are besides ourselves.

Wait. Wait. Alan has a date with Zahra the woman doctor who takes him to her home and they go snorkeling and we see her topless in the water with Alan. (Whaaaaat??) Is this it? The main plot? Sadly, no. Sad.

I don't know what city he is in, but the first time he enters the hotel he is greeted by the desk clerk with, "Welcome to the Hyatt Hotel, Jeddah." This is very strange as Alan is told the person he was to meet was not there and is in Jeddah. (Say what?) Maybe I heard it wrong. The clerk says this every other time Alan enters the hotel.

Apparently, Tom Hanks is miscast in this. His facial expressions to indicate humor fail. Not good. There is nothing funny in here. The banter in the car with Yousef almost serves as comic relief, but again those script pages were eaten by camels and although the banter is good, it is not ha ha funny, and a far cry from a LOL funny.

Apart from uncomfortable scenes within the Denmark Embassy with an aggressive Hanne (Sidse Babett Knudsen) nothing happens and we are lost. In this Embassy we see suggestive dances, make-out sessions, drug and alcohol use.

Again, we wonder why some movies are made and why some A-List stars bother to be in them. Nothing happens to pique our interest. Nothing. Sad. Very sad. (4/10)

Violence: No. Sex: No. Nudity: Yes, the snorkeling scenes. Language: No
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6/10
This isn't bad but the caliber of Hanks really adds depth and emotion to this character and makes the movie worth seeing
cosmo_tiger3 August 2016
"I think we should expect the unexpected." Alan (Hanks) is a businessman who is struggling and who's life is falling apart. He is sent to Saudi Arabia in order to convince the king to use his company's technology. When he gets there it is not at all what he expected, and in the middle of the desert Alan begins to really discover who he is. This is a movie that isn't bad but really comes down to the fact that Tom Hanks is such a great actor that he carries the movie on his own. By that I mean that this movie isn't all that exciting and may not have been made if not for Hanks. He can turn a barely watchable movie into something much better than it should be just by his skills alone. Essentially his character spends his time waking up late and riding in a taxi only to be told that the king isn't here today. Over and over. The caliber of Hanks really adds depth and emotion to this character and makes the movie worth seeing. Very few actors can do that. Overall, an OK movie at best but Hanks makes this watchable and he is the real reason to watch this. I give it a B-.
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4/10
Lacked conviction
MaxHaydon199413 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Although I've long been a fan of Tom Hanks, his presence wasn't quite enough to make this film enjoyable. Although presented as a comedy/drama, I neither found this film to be funny or dramatic. The story itself lacked any conviction, nothing you could mildly sink your teeth into. The characterisation felt like it was left behind, as if any back story or depth had been left at the first draft. Although not unwatchable, I found the film to be tiresome to watch, I struggled from beginning to end and as a viewer and found no reward in sticking to it. I give 'A Hologram for the King' a 4/10 mainly for Hanks, who carried the poor script a long by the skin of his teeth, but I wouldn't recommend anyone watching this film.
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1/10
Worst Tom Hanks movie ever
tsftom-0302115 May 2016
I like Tom Hanks. I went to see this movie because of Tom Hanks. Unfortunately, I have seldom seen a movie as pointless as this one. In fact, I signed up to IMDb just to write this review: do not waste your time or money to see this one. It has a none existent plot, weak characters all around, a dialog that seems made up as they were filming, and worst of all, there is no point or reason to watch this movie. Is it about Saudi Arabia? Maybe, but if it is, we should boycott the country not make a movie about it. Is it about a bunch of real characters lost in Saudi Arabia? No. It's about a bunch of characters whose fate you don't give a damn about whether they live in SA or USA. Is there any conclusion, closure, opinion that you can form about the plot, or characters, or the reason this movie was made? None. Zero. Zip. I'm tempted to write to Tom Hanks and ask for my money back, or at least, ask for an explanation for making this god-awful movie.
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3/10
Rock The Kasbah + Lost In Translation = Tom Hanks worst film in decades
Zbigniew_Krycsiwiki29 April 2016
Preposterous, wholly unbelievable story of American businessman, on a ridiculous assignment in ultra conservative Saudi Arabia, who forms an extremely improbable alliance with a female doctor (with whom he appears to have absolutely zero chemistry) and ultimately decides to stay there to be with her, and as a result, probably never see his college-aged daughter again. There's the "happy" ending for you.

There were at least three times when it seemed like an entire scene (possibly an entire reel) was missing, completely edited from the final cut, which gave the film a choppy feeling, like the studio had heavilly (and poorly) edited the film prior to release.

Why was Hanne even there, as a potential love interest for Hanks, but he keeps turning her down? She disappears for a considerable amount of time, only to reappear, just to be turned down again by Hanks. Again, why?

Hanks' driver was mildly amusing, but even he disappears midway through. Film can't decide if it wants to be a fish-out-of-water comedy, a love story, or a message movie, and ends up just being mostly pointless, completely unbelievable, entirely forgettable, also blandly acted (even by Hanks) , with only some impressive on-location photography in North Africa to recommend.

I spent a lot of the film's runtime trying to figure if Tom Hanks had a hair transplant? I think he did.

(It was only me, and exactly four others in the cinema during the advance screening, and two of them walked out two thirds into the film)

Filmed from 6 March 2014 to June 2014, but not released until April 2016.
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3/10
Skip it
room10210 August 2016
Tom Tykwer's movie with Tom Hanks. A businessman travels to Saudi Arabia.

The portrayal of Saudi people using American/European actors was cringe worthy. Do you expect me to suspend my disbelief when every Saudi person speaks perfect English with no Arabic accent and women wear makeup and look European? If you're making a movie that is supposed to take place and be filmed in Saudi Arabia, don't PC wash/"Europeanise" it. That's bullshit.

The movie itself wasn't interesting and I lost interest after less than 20 min.
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4/10
"A Hologram for the King" is a two-dimensional imitation of Tom Hanks' normally multi-dimensional movies.
dave-mcclain22 April 2016
He is one of the most popular – and simply one of the best ever in his profession. Statistics prove it and he has the accolades to back it up. He has more hits and a higher percentage of hits than most in his profession could ever dream of. His successes also helped many others in their careers. Whether he walked or was running, he was rarely off base. In fact, he has the best on-base percentage in baseball history. I'm talking, of course, about Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox slugger, 1939-1942 and 1946-1960 (his career interrupted by World War II). Williams is close behind Babe Ruth in career home runs, slugging percentage and walks, has the highest career batting average in the past 100 years, the highest on-base percentage ever and his impressive RBI totals helped add to the run stats of many other players.

Who did you think I was talking about? Well, yeah, I guess that most of what I just said about Ted Williams is true about Oscar-winning actor-producer Tom Hanks as well. Hanks also has a remarkably high career batting average – at the box office, but even the best don't get a hit every single time. The comedy-drama "A Hologram for the King" (R, 1:37) is a rare whiff for one of our most popular actors.

Hanks is Alan Clay, a washed-up, put-upon Boston corporate salesman on a business trip to Saudi Arabia. Alan's father (Tom Skeritt) criticizes him, his ex-wife (Jane Perry) hounds him and his college-aged daughter (Tracey Fairaway) is caught in the middle. Alan's boss (Eric Myers) belittles him and makes unreasonable demands, like the exact time when the ruler of a Muslim country will sit down for a tech presentation.

Alan is in Saudi Arabia with a 3-person tech team from his company, hoping to sell the king a video teleconferencing system which features a hologram of the person on the other end of the call. The king is building a new business center out in the desert and Alan's team is in the exhibition hall waiting to hear when the king will stop by. The exhibition hall is a nearby tent where the air conditioning only works some of the time, the wi-fi doesn't work at all and there is no food. Alan's repeated trips over to the business center to find solutions are met with indifference and Alan grows increasingly frustrated.

Personally, Alan is having a hard time adjusting to his new surroundings – in every way imaginable. He gets some help with the obvious culture shock from his driver, Yousef (Alexander Black), a Saudi national who once lived in the U.S., orients Alan to the culture and provides the film's comic relief. Alan also has problems with oversleeping, finding a drink in a country where alcohol is officially banned and is occupied with concern about a mysterious new growth in the middle of his back. For that first one, he has Yousef, for the second, a very friendly Danish businesswoman (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and for the third, a female doctor (Indian actress Sarita Choudhury), with whom he would like to become friendlier.

"A Hologram for the King" may not sound like a lot of fun, but… it's even less fun that it sounds. Hanks is game, but after the movie's bizarre narrative opening (set to "Once in a Lifetime" by The Talking Heads) and a long period in which Hanks does little more than scowl, complain and look surprised and/or distressed, even watching Tom Hanks becomes tiresome. His signature charm doesn't show up until late in the film and by then it is too little too late. The supporting cast is solid, but not enough to adequately support Hanks, who gets walked at the plate, then appears winded as he rounds the cinematic bases.

Of course, it would help if the story were better. The film is based on Dave Eggers' 2012 novel (a National Book Award finalist) and was adapted by German writer-director Tom Tykwer, who also directs this film and previously collaborated with Hanks on 2012's disappointing "Cloud Atlas". This fish-out-of-water (and-in-the-desert) story follows a template similar to Bill Murray's 2015 "Rock the Kasbah" (which was more fun) and Tina Fey's 2016 "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" (which was funnier). Those movies were marginally enjoyable, but this one is less so. It also has elements similar to Hanks' "Cast Away" (2000), but is not as interesting. The climactic scene referred to in the title film's title is decidedly anti-climactic and the rest of the plot points are well-meaning but uninspiring. Of course, like baseball great Ted Williams, Hanks' reputation as one of the all-time greats in his field is well-deserved and secure, but I have to say that it feels like he struck out in his latest plate appearance. "C+"
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wrong view of Saudi Arabia
nwiermohd22 September 2016
i'm Saudi , and i'm really shocked from the way other societies think of us !!

first thing first we don't swim topless :D , second thing is we don't look like this ! sorry but there are better options than this actress :S she looks more like Indian and i would never tell that she is Saudi

the movie shows like if Jeddah is an old uncivilized city which is not true !!

people are way more sophisticated than how it seems to look in the movie

they didn't show the real side of the real Saudi families ! we are not living like Yousef barbarian way !!

and the elevator scene when there was a girl with to adults women looking at Tom in tough way like we never smile :D really we are not like this

and who said that there are not many female doctors in our country !! women in Saudi Arabia can be doctors, teachers , lawyers , designers , etc..

PS: there is no WAAY the our king would meet anyone for this simple project :s it is no easy to meet a king there are other people who do this meeting in behalf of the king
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6/10
A painfully awkward 90 minutes.
yrmacallan25 April 2016
Warning: Spoilers
First Hanks flick I haven't liked since I don't know when.

Kept waiting for the story to develop or for something humorous to happen. No such luck. When you find out it isn't some trippy dream he's having is when you really start to wonder what this movie is supposed to be about.

Maybe he was miscast. I didn't read the book, but I just checked out the Amazon reviews. Sounds like maybe this would have been better suited to a William H. Macy type.

Could have sworn this movie was over 2 hours long. Cannot think of anything redeeming about this movie unless you enjoy the feeling of being perplexed for 90 minutes.
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7/10
A Hologram for the King
Argemaluco11 November 2016
I was very interested in watching A Hologram for the King due to the unusual combination of director and main actor. Behind the cameras, we have Tom Tykwer, a talented director who is best known for difficult-to-classify risky projects which can almost be considered anti-commercial (such as The Princess and the Warrior, Heaven and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer). And in front of the cameras, we have Tom Hanks, a box office leader and multiple Oscar winner who is firmly established into Hollywood "mainstream". How did the recipe end up with such disparate ingredients? Unexpectedly insipid, even though with enough seasoning to keep the audience entertained. A Hologram for the King is based on an acclaimed novel written by Dave Eggers (which I haven't read), and the screenplay (adapted by Tykwer himself) suffers from the usual consequences of adapting a book to the screen: compression, fragmentation and confusion. Some things happen with an excessive quickness; there are vignettes which are entertaining by themselves, even though they don't flow as part of an integral narrative; and, finally, we have characters who arbitrarily get in and out, maybe because they were in the novel, but without contributing anything substantial to the movie. On the positive side, Hanks brings an excellent performance, perfectly transmitting all the emotions his character goes through. Hanks' work is the main reason why this movie kept me entertained; even though, on the other hand, I comprehend the negative reviews this movie received. A Hologram for the King fails as a comedy because it isn't very funny; and we don't have the big moments of catharsis and conflict which distinguish a good drama. A Hologram for the King is just a light tale about a common man under adverse circumstances, trying to please everyone at the expense of his physical and mental health. As for Tykwer, his direction is adequate, but lacking of the vigor and exuberant vision he usually displays; he might have accepted this as a mercenary project; or maybe, he lacks the creative tools to work with "normal" characters, instead of the lunatics and eccentrics he handled in previous films. In conclusion, I expected more from this movie, but it still made me have a good time, and I consider it worthy of a moderate recommendation. Besides, I think it fulfilled with its mission of satirizing the culture crash which provokes so many problems in certain parts of the world. And I'm not talking about Coke vs. Pepsi.
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5/10
Too many loose ends, trying to score on every level
jaap-417 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This was just a waste of time to watch. It all started fine with the Talking Heads intro, but it soon tried to copy parts of Lost in Translation, a mid-life crisis, fear for the need to perform and a lot of stories on it's own that didn't get explained at all. So, you have this guy (Tom Hanks) who is send to Saudi Arabia, with an unclear assignment, always being late on work, and therefor meeting some paranoid guy with an ipod in his car. For some reason these 2 guys get in a very shallow relation, based on Tom Hanks being driven to some near-future project that has no foundation at all. He meets a doctor, because of a big lump on his back, he meets strange people who seem to live in luxury appartements without any connection to the outside world, he gets involved with the driver, who wants to escape from an alleged adultery, being driven to a distant village, where they are to shoot a wolf, and he finally gets in a relationship with the doctor that treated his lump. Really? This is the story..
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