Monday, 23 May 2016
A Hologram for the King (4 Stars)
Tom Hanks gets lost in translation.
He plays Alan Clay, a salesman attempting to sell a high-tech holographic conference system to the King of Saudi Arabia. When he arrives in the city where the king is supposed to live he finds that only one building has been completed, and the king hasn't visited for over 18 months. His frustration turns to rage as he realises that he can't find anyone to help him.
This is an excellent film about a man visiting a country so foreign that it could be another planet. The justaposition of middle eastern and western cultures often seems absurd, especially Alan's journey through Mecca. Friends of mine who have worked in Saudi Arabia have verified that the attitude towards alcohol is accurate. If you ask for alcohol you're told it's forbidden, but if you don't ask you find that it's offered to you when you least expect it.
I almost gave the film a five star rating, but I found the scenes with the cancerous lump on Alan's back distasteful. If that doesn't bother you you'll love the film.