Based on Dave Eggers’ richly layered novel and adapted for the screen by Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run, Wintersleepers, The Princess and the Warrior), A Hologram for the King takes us from recession-scarred America to a rising Saudi Arabian city as businessman Alan Clay (Tom Hanks) fights to hold onto his family and his sanity in the face of the global economy’s gale-force winds.
Alan works as an ambassador for Reliant Systems, a communications company that has a hologram projection system it wants to install at the new King Abdullah Economic City. In debt by more than $100,000 at home, and in need of cash for his daughter’s college tuition, Alan is desperate for his company to get the job. But when he arrives in Saudi Arabia, what initially looked like a promising business venture turns out to be a pipe dream. Baffled by local customs and an opaque bureaucracy, he finds himself alone with his team in a tent, waiting for an audience with the king for weeks on end. With nothing moving forward in his life, except for a pernicious and growing sore on the back of his neck, Alan swims in his worries but eventually finds footing with the help of a wise-cracking taxi driver (Alexander Black) and a beautiful Saudi doctor (Sarita Choudhury). A taut, richly layered story, A Hologram for the King is a powerful evocation of our contemporary moment — and a moving story of how we got here. In English and Arabic with subtitles.
(USA, Germany / 2016 / Directed by Tom Tykwer)
R / 97 mins.