#REVIEW: “A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING”
Review by Jonathan Godfrey for Mr. Will Wong
Second chances are hard to give, but they are necessary for growth. Tom Tykwer’s latest Film, A Hologram for the King, is an insightful look at the importance of second chances. It’s based on a book by the same name written by Dave Eggers, (see, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius). The Book, like the Film, follows Alan Clay, a modern day Willy Loman. Like the aforementioned salesman, Alan is an aging peddler whose glory days appear to be behind him. He’s a divorcee, a struggling father, and a man at the end of his rope. However, he’s been given a second chance. A past encounter has granted him a present opportunity, the opportunity to sell bleeding edge tech to the King of Saudi Arabia.
Tom Hanks plays Alan Clay, and the Film starts with him going through the above scenario. It’s given the Twyker touch, as Hanks breaks the fourth wall in a way reminiscent of Run Lola Run. Thereafter, these touches are subtle. The narrative dives into Clay’s days in the desert, and there he is tested and tempted. Can he close the deal? Can he come through for his daughter? Can he overcome his fears? It’s a perilous quest fraught with danger and featuring a foreign beauty. Sarita Choudhury plays Dr. Zahra Hakem, the woman which Alan finds himself falling for. She’s the light at the end of the tunnel, the deus ex machina that saves Alan from himself.
Some may think this is just another white man in a foreign land trying to come off guiltless and justified. It’s better seen as an attempt to discuss the human experience from a particular perspective. Perhaps not favoured by all, but nonetheless picturesque in its portrayal. It’s a beautiful Film, and its story is skillfully-told. It’s a Film that reminds us that we must confront our failures, and embrace our second chances.
eOne Films release A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING Friday, April 22, 2016.