Art in Film: A Hologram for the King – 85%

A Hologram for the KingOn April 26, 2016, our Art in Film group reviewed A Hologram for the King.  Cultures collide when an American businessman (Tom Hanks) is sent to Saudi Arabia to close what he hopes will be the deal of a lifetime. Baffled by local customs and stymied by an opaque bureaucracy, he eventually finds his footing with the help of a wise-cracking taxi driver (Alexander Black) and a beautiful Saudi doctor (Sarita Choudhury).

Released April 22, 2016.  English.  Written & Directed by Tom Tykwer.  Cast includes Tom Hanks (as Alan Clay); Alexander Black (as Yousef); and Sarita Choudhury (as Zahra).


Jonathan Kahn (85%); Glenn Lippman (90%, Discussion/Review Leader); Judy Moskowitz (75%); Bebe Nagel (95%); Elinor Steffensen (90%) and Rose (75%).

Movie Review Comments:

  • Interesting film.  Had a way of taking the audience on a vacation sort of trip, allowing one to escape into a part of the world so very different from life in the United States.
  • Tom Hanks starred in this film.  In one sense it seemed unusual a part for him.  He is not known for an emotional and sexy role.  However we think it was a good role for Hanks in that the culture in Saudi Arabia seems a bit distant and stoic; and Hanks seemed to depict that way about him very well.
  • Length of film was 90 minutes.  For some of our reviewers, the length was just right.  For others, the film dragged on building Hanks/Choudhury relationship then the film abruptly ended without providing more on movie’s original objective.
  • Parts that could have been eliminated or embellished.   (a) reduction in overslept scenes; (b) removed surgery details; (c) eliminated mountain visit with Yousef; (d) added more about the new job.
  • Metaphors.  Untouched seemed to explain Hanks’ part as it reflected general emotional response of Saudi Arabia.  Endless time as it related to continuous delays, etc.  Swimming scene represents a new beginning.

A Hologram for the King (2016)

  • Memorable Scenes.  (a) expression of tenderness in love scene; (b) Schwinn & Chinese parallel;(  (c) CIA joke; (d) Wolf scene; and (e) Father/Son trip’s message.
  • Learn Anything.  (a) Danish people like to party; (b) position of women in Saudi Arabia; (c) Saudi Arabia’s dislike for USA in the number of delays; and (d) Mecca.
  • Audience.  Mature, intelligent and adult.

Our reviewers found it odd that this film’s timing and emotionless theme comes so close in time to pending release of the controversy of 9/11 report and Saudi Arabia’s secret 28 pages.  Was the timing of this film deliberate?  Or just a coincidence?