A Hologram for a King

Rated 3.0

Ah, white people—there truly is no personal issue so crushingly banal or microscopically inconsequential that they can’t tell a soggy, quasi-inspirational story about heroically overcoming it. Tom Hanks plays disgraced American businessman Alan Clay, who tries to find redemption in the unlikeliest of places: himself (cue AM rock staples). More concretely, Hanks’ IT salesman is trying to find personal and economic redemption in Saudi Arabia, where he has been sent to pitch the monarchy on a hologram conferencing system. That’s what the movie is about, I swear to God—Tom Hanks looking for Wi-Fi in the desert. And yet for all of the arms-crossed ill will that the premise engenders, writer-director Tom Tykwer has enough conviction and verve to hold your interest. Hanks can do this sort of crumpled decency in his sleep, but he gives his all to Alan Clay, a show of faith in fairly shoddy material. D.B.