I've always had a soft spot for Tom Hanks, he's such a movie star veteran and has such a likeable on screen presence. Even hearing his voice in the Toy Story franchise feels like a warm hug.
He didn't fail to impress as he took centre stage in director Tom Tykwer's adaptation of the drama A Hologram For The King. It's the second collaboration between Hanks and Tykwer since Cloud Atlas in 2012. Tykwer admitted the film wouldn't have been made without Hanks' involvement, and the film wouldn't have been the same without him.
Tykwer did well to adapt Dave Eggers' interesting imagination from his best-selling novel and brought it to life in the blockbuster movie. I felt emotionally invested in Alan Clay (Tom Hanks), a struggling businessman who's lost everything and decides to head for Saudi Arabia in hope to sell his hologram technology to the King. The juxtaposition from America's skyscrappers where Alan travels from and the middle of the desert where he ends up made me feeling empathy towards Alan as he tries to set up his sales pitch in an empty outdoor tent with no air conditioning or Wi-Fi.
The first half of the movie sets the scene and the second is the more enjoyable part with stunning shots across miles of desert and humorous dialogue from Hanks' character as he gets more and more frustrated with the slow, and definitely different, way of working.
I enjoyed the insight into life in Saudi Arabia and thought the entire film was shot beautifully. I particularly enjoyed the underwater scene filmed in the red sea, which didn't come without it's difficulties. The wonderful scene sees Alan and his romantic interest Zahra (Sarita Choudhury) swim deep underwater to smooch in secret. Speaking to Tom Tykwer he said this was tricky to film since meant Hanks and Choudhury had to be chained to the bottom of the ocean in scuba diving suits!
There were a couple of loose ends which get quickly wrapped up in the last scene of the movie which I won't spoil for you now. A Hologram For The King is a good watch and if you'd like a break from the superhero/action movies taking up cinema space this month, this is something totally different to anything else out there at the moment.
EXTRAS: Just the featurette The Making of A Hologram For The King (19:55); and an Image Gallery.