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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The title “A Hologram for the King” turns out to be it’s best feature— and it’s not even close.

    Still from A Hologram For the King starring Tom Hanks (right).

    There’s one thing that films require more than anything else: a good storyline that follows through from the beginning all the way to its conclusion. German-American comedy-drama film “A Hologram for the King” fails in this basic regard. Clouded by a directionless plot with no real emphasis other than a small sense of personal inspiration, this film becomes a faint memory for the average moviegoer.

    We begin this film with an American salesman Alan Clay (Tom Hanks) on a plane to Saudi Arabia to secure a business deal by selling a hologram contract to the king of Saudi Arabia (Alexander Black). The king plans to build a city in the middle of a desert.

    The trouble begins when the king fails to show up to his scheduled meeting. Hoping that he would show up the next day, Clay returns to the project’s headquarters, known as King’s Metropolis of Economy and Trade, only to find out from a receptionist that the king will not be present.

    At this point, one has to question the narrative of the film as well as its current state of direction. To be more specific, the average moviegoer must be attempting to understand a storyline that appears as lost as a plot can be.

    For a motion picture that introduces a start-up conflict right from its opening scene — Clay’s inability to hold a meeting with the king — the film then embarks on a different journey by presenting the audience with a series of past reflections of the main character. As Clay continues his daily routine, we start to see his past, as well as his current, misfortunes.

    Through his flashbacks, we learn of his recent divorce, as well as his attempt to finance his daughter’s college education. In a sense, Clay represents a man who’s currently in a battle with all the negative forces in his life. His desire to sell a hologram contract to a king for a substantial amount of money represents a much-desired opportunity to make up for his disappointments.

    It’s a nice inspirational story for those who seek some clarification on who Clay is, but for those seeking a movie with a narrative, this film does not deliver. One might argue Clay’s current battle in his life represents the real narrative and not the contract.

    Eventually, the status regarding the hologram contract is addressed, but not before Clay meets a doctor, Zahra (Sarita Choudhury), to whom he becomes attracted. What follows is a typical, cliché romantic story.

    In the end, “A Hologram for King” does not deliver with its aimless narrative that leaves the term plot open for interpretation.


    Follow Ernesto Fierro on Twitter.

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