A Hologram For The King

Starring: Tom Hanks, Alexander Black, Sarita Choudhury
Directed By: Tom Tykwer

Before I watched the film, I had seen a comment on a message board where someone’s basic review of the film was “Has Tom Hanks ever made a bad film?” It’s amazing how we have that opinion of Tom Hanks, despite him having made films like Larry Crowne. But in general, it’s true. He doesn’t make bad films, but maybe just a few mediocre films? This is one of those. It’ll be remembered for about as long as The Ladykillers was, or Charlie Wilson’s War. It’s not a bad film or a particularly good one, but it is a film made better because of his presence.

Its his second pairing with Tom Tykwer, who has managed a long career in Hollywood, despite the fact that he directs a bunch of films that are just OK. Yes, he did break through with Run Lola Run, but Cloud Atlas? The International? Perfume? He seems ambitious, but his films often wander aimlessly, and are far too long for their own good. A Hologram For The King is a wandering film, often directionless at times, yet its so poorly managed that I actually wanted more at the end, because the film lacked in such true resolution. It just kinda reaches the end, and gives up.

I would have enjoyed the ending more, perhaps, if it was more established, but we spend so much of the film focused on other things. It’s almost like a different film at times, especially at the end. This whole film feels like a ploy to work with Tom Hanks, but not a really well thought out one.

The supporting cast does a good job supporting Hanks, but Hanks himself has had much better roles. Yet still he is one of the best actors alive, so it’s still a good performance. Even when he sleepwalks, it’s magnificent. I think the film itself is probably worthy of a C, but Hanks got it up to a B- for me. That’s the mark of a truly great actor, and I think that’s what the original message board poster meant. He didn’t mean “Has Tom Hanks ever made a bad film?” but rather “Has Tom Hanks ever been bad in in a film?” No. No he hasn’t.

FINAL GRADE: B-

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