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Review: A Hologram for the King

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Eat, Pray, Love, Sell IT Solutions

And you may find yourself sitting in a press screening for A Hologram for the King
And you may find yourself wondering if Tom Hanks can pull off another mid-life crisis
And you may find yourself wondering if you should have read the Dave Eggers novel the movie's based on
And you may find yourself admiring director Tom Tykwer, and his beautiful eye
And you may ask yourself
Well... How did I get here?

Letting the days go by
Tribeca's slowly winding down
Letting the days go by
Water flowing underground
Writing a gimmick review
After the money's gone
Once in a lifetime
Water flowing underground

A Hologram for the King
Director: Tom Tykwer
Rating: R
Release Date: April 22, 2016

And you may ask yourself,
"How can they make movie trailers that awful?"
And you may ask yourself,
"Is this portrayal of Saudi Arabian culture problematic or simply the use of a foreign land as a pretext for self-discovery (i.e. Japan in Lost in Translation [which, come to think of it, may be inherently problematic])?"
And you may tell yourself,
"This is a lot like the plot in a Cameron Crowe movie (i.e., a lost man needs the love a good woman to show him the way)."
And you may tell yourself,
"The first half of the movie is quirky, likable enough, and not so bad."

Letting the days go by
Alan Clay (Hanks) is waiting for the Saudi King
Letting the days go by
The king seems like he'll never show up in a vast, unmade desert megalopolis
Driving around again
Alan's showing the king holographic teleconferencing technology
"Once in a Lifetime"
Is a recurring motif that's introduced and dropped after two scenes

Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was...

(Alan thinks again and again about working for Schwinn, his gig before this IT job. He downsized the bike company and outsourced factory jobs to China. This mix of jetlag and class guilt causes him to wake up later and later each day, requiring the services of a private driver named Yousef played by Alexander Black to shuttle him from his hotel to the unmade desert megalopolis. Black is at once a guide through Saudi Arabian life and yet also a kind of silly and maybe even condescending caricature of the Saudi working class who loves prog rock and American AM radio hits. This may be unavoidable given the western outsider perspective that the story takes, and it allows someone to play sidekick to the archetypal good-old-fashioned American that Hanks excels at portraying at this point of his career. But yeah, problematic. It's as if all people and all things are tools to be used by this visiting outsider, each thing he encounters a potential mid-life crisis lesson rather than a thing unto itself. A consequence of globalization: American mid-life crises take hold anywhere around the world the narrative chooses.)

A cyst forms on Alan's back, and the cyst needs to be removed
The cyst is a metaphor for the sadness/guilt of the American upper middle class
Alan finds solace in a place he'd never intended to travel to
He might find home by leaving the place he's lived in all his life

Letting the pat life lessons go by
One involves a camping trip with Alan's dad
Letting the expedient romance go by
Dr. Zahara played by Sarita Choudhury is an interesting and nuanced character, though a utilitarian love interest
Driving around again
She's struggling with culture and modernity
Once in a lifetime
If only the middle-age romance that develops wasn't so trite and treacly

And you may ask yourself,
"Would I watch this on cable if it was free?" (Maybe just the first half, but maybe not)
And you may ask yourself,
"Could more have been done with the quirkiness at the start?" (This definitely doesn't feel like a Tykwer movie in general, it's a bit staid)
And you may ask yourself,
"Should I have gone to a different screening this morning instead?"
And you may say to yourself,
"My God!...What have I done?!"

Letting the days go by
Unresolved subplots keep pulling the movie down
Letting the days go by
Hanks sustains the lulls with his affability, but it only goes so far
Into the blue again
Yousef's car is colored blue
Under the quirks and veils
The movie's just a competent shrug

Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was...
Look where my mind went by the second half
The interest isn't holding up
Time is an asterisk
Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was... Same as it ever was...
Yeah, the gimmick review's over
Here comes the review score
Same as it ever was...

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A Hologram for the King reviewed by Hubert Vigilla

5.5

MEDIOCRE

An exercise in apathy, neither solid nor liquid. Not exactly bad, but not very good either. Just a bit "meh," really.
How we score:  The Flixist reviews guide

 
 
 

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Hubert Vigilla
Hubert VigillaEditor-at-Large   gamer profile

Vigilla is a writer living in Brooklyn, which makes him completely more + disclosures


 


 


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