A Hologram for the King

Friday night is family movie night in our household, not that that’s the only night of the week we watch movies, we often watch movies on Saturday night too, but well we don’t have a name for that, and that’s ok, because… well the laws of logic get a bit loose when you have kids.

Anyway, this past Friday, we watched ‘A Hologram for the King‘, starring Tom Hanks. It was movie of the week on iTunes, rentable for just $0.99, the trailer looked interesting, and I had heard some good things about it, so we went for it.

The movie is about a washed-up corporate salesman, who looks to change his luck by traveling to Saudi Arabia to try and sell his company’s holographic teleconferencing product to the King.

It was a light, nice comedic movie. Not Hanks’ best by far, but was still fun to watch, and gave us some good laughs here and there.

Most of all, I was really impressed by the co-star of the movie, American actor Alexander Black, who plays the role of Yousef, a Saudi chauffeur who befriends and drives Tom’s character around in the movie. He was really funny and truly nailed the Arabic language dialogue parts; even doing the Saudi dialect better than some of the non-Saudi native Arabic speakers in the movie.

Usually, all Arabic dialogue in movies and TV shows is very bad and extremely cringe-worthy, sometimes even when they have native speakers in them, where they just butcher the language and the dialects they’re trying to use, so this was definitely a pleasant surprise. Lots of respect to Alexander Black!

There was a romance portrayed between Alan (Hanks’ character) and Zahra, his saudi doctor (played by Sarita Choudhury), and even though I get the idea of introducing an element like this in the movie, it just felt a bit rushed, and wasn’t developed enough, considering the characters and the context.
Given the story unfolds in Saudi Arabia, it would have been a lot more complicated for Alan to meet Zahra the first time, let alone keep easily meeting her on several other occasions, and starting a relationship with her.

The movie was based off a Dave Eggers novel, so I just might throw that onto my to-read list, to check out soon, and see how the events play out in the book, hopefully in a bit more detail.

It was also good seeing Tunisian actor Dhaffer L’Abidine make an appearance in this movie, even if for a small and secondary role.

Overall, I’d say it was a good movie, and worth watching if you’re looking for something light and fun.

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