In Dave Eggers’ book, Hologram for a King, a beaten-down salesman travels from the United States to Saudi Arabia to sell a teleconferencing system to Saudi royalty. Now, Tom Tykwer (director of The International and Run Lola Run) delivers the cinematic version in a script he wrote. Exploring the cross-cultural experiences of this fish-out-of-water story, Tykwer follows Tom Hanks’ Alan Clay through the desert in search of an oasis where he can find sustenance.
Other films have proceeded this one about washed-up Americans finding some gleam of themselves again in other places. Whether it’s the most recent Whiskey Tango Foxtrot or Rock the Kasbah, or something older, we’ve experienced the dance of a man (or woman) struggling to reinvent themselves in a new locale after great disappointment. (We’ve actually seen Hanks himself wandering around in the desert(ed island) before, too, and you might see The Terminal here as well.)
But Hanks is Hanks, and the film’s shiny moments belong to his performance. A blend of comedy and drama, this one won’t find its way to awards’ ceremonies, but the heart of a man trying to find himself, and redeem his life, will always find an audience.
Special features include the adaptation of the novel for the big screen, examining the culture Clay finds himself in, and a general ‘making of’ featurette.