Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Now on Amazon Prime: A Hologram for the King (2016)

A Hologram for the King (2016) - Written and Directed by Tom Twyker; Starring Tom Hanks, Alexander Black, Sarita Choudhury, Tom Skerritt.

By Kenny Howell

Tom Hanks was in a movie last year called A Hologram for the King.

That would be a surprise to quite a few people because usually Hanks' films are huge releases that gets tons of press and are talked about quite incessantly.

But this one came and went, and it is easy to see why once watching it. It is kind of a mess and really has no idea what it is about, ever changing as it went.

It starts with a dream sequence, probably mistake no. 1, as Hanks' Alan is in the middle of a Talking Heads style video, singing something close to the lyrics of Once in a Lifetime. It's such a disjointed way to start a film because dreams are bizarre, obviously, and your opener is supposed to be your tone setter. It doesn't really do that because this isn't an odd movie.

From there, we follow Alan to Saudi Arabia. He is pitching some new tech to a wealthy man starting a new city in the desert. It is a meeting software that creates a hologram so you feel like you are in the same room while meeting.

However, things don't go well from the beginning, as Alan is late for his first day setting up for the presentation and has to get a driver to take him to the remote area. He finds his team in a giant tent outside of the main building trying to get work done with no good wi-fi connection, and the King keeps bailing on their meetings.

Add to that, he has a monstrous growth on his back that is bleeding from time to time. That leads him to a female doctor who he bonds with during his stay and treatment.

A Hologram for the King is adapted from the Dave Eggers novel of the same name, and with any novel, there are going to be some bumps in translating it to screen. Here, there just isn't really any focus. It seems Alan's diminishing psyche is the driving force, but I don't think Hanks (Bridge of Spies) performance really portrays that. He doesn't seem a desperate man, so it is not as dire as it should be if that is what you are going for. Then it takes a bit of a turn in the final act, one which doesn't really match up to the rest of the film. It's a misfire from nearly all points, but you can still see the possibility that there was a good movie somewhere in there. It just wasn't this one.

A Hologram for the King is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Rating: **

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