A Hologram for the ADHD Generation
Amidst the bigger hitters that Tom Hanks has delivered across the years, come the smaller pieces which are seldom less than entertaining, and often nice surprises.2004's The Terminal was one such example, as were his multiple perfromances in co-writer/director Tom Twyker's Cloud Atlas (an impressive and underrated endeavour with contributions from the Wachowskis too, and an all-star cast), and he reunites with Twkyer here - again on writing/directing duty - for a tale curiously reminiscent of another fish-out-of-water-and-stuck-in-the-desert dramedy, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.His glorified senior IT salesman here, Alan, is supposed to be pitching holographic technology to a Saudi King who wants to build a city in the desert. Only the King never comes, and Alan and his team find the open-ended wait and the complete lack of communication unbearably frustrating. As the mistakes - and scars - of his past haunt him, and his future looks increasingly uncertain, Alan fights to reclaim his life and find a new direction.
Hanks can carry almost any movie, and whilst Twyker's offbeat alternate tale of a middle-life crisis in the Middle East is distinctly slight in nature, it's easy to see why the veteran actor was drawn to such a story at this particular point in his own career.
Flirting with resonance, Hologram plays it fast and loose with a reputedly far better source novel that Hanks reportedly adores
Twyker could have taken a deeper, more resonant approach to investigating the subject-matter, but instead plays it safe with a fast-edited, era-of-social-media-styled piece which attempts to keep the audience's interest with gimmickry, sharp cuts and snappy pacing, and loses the impact of some of its more important moments as a result. Indeed the biggest impact comes in the final act, a particularly rushed extended coda whose own mini-arc is arguably more interesting than that of the main narrative itself. Nonetheless it's an unusual curio from Hanks; a safe play for sure, but a smaller piece than he is usually involved in, and one which is not without its merits.
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