When there is Tom Hanks movie in the cinema, it is very hard for me not to go and see it. I fell in love with him ever since You’ve Got Mail, and then Castaway, The Terminal, et cetera. He was amazing in that pirate movie too, Captain Phillips, though that was such a different role than any other role he has ever played. In A Hologram for the King he is pretty much being Tom Hanks, but then in a total WTF state of mind, all. the. time.
The funny thing is that the way he feels: WTF is this country?! while he is in Saudi-Arabia, as a viewer you kinda feel the same: WTF am I watching? The director, Tom Tykwer, likes to screw with our brains like that, and he has done so very successfully with Cloud Atlas, but A Hologram for the King definitely is taking things a bit too far. I know that Saudi-Arabia is a country to be like: wow, this is very different, so I can imagine his amazement and wonder, and frustration. My first boyfriend was born and partly raised in Saudi-Arabia, and he was even in a Western compound, and that was already super weird. But interesting, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think Saudi-Arabia is a place we should have more movies take place, cause it is fascinating in a good way.
Not in A Hologram for the King though. The movie makes Saudi-Arabia look strange, and I felt it was a bit white. Even though it eventually is a story about a white man blending in in a culture that is middle eastern, I think Sarita Choudhury is portrayed too much like ‘the other’. I do not feel the movie is respectful towards the Arabian culture. And even if you do not mind that kind of stuff, this movie is just plain boring. You are watching it, but afterwards you realise you could tell the very disappointing story in one sentence.
There are a lot of foreshadowing in this movie, though I do not always understand it. Did I miss something? This audience is pretty old, maybe I am too young to understand? There is this scene where the men try to protect a herd of sheep, but then the guys pray for a bit and they leave Mr Hanks to do the protecting of the sheep. Then a wolf comes along, he pies on the tent, looks at the sheep and then leaves.
I. DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND.
So maybe somewhere inside A Hologram for the King there is this amazing story that will make you understand the meaning of life, but it did not quite reach me, at all.