A Hologram for the King


for Cinetalk.net


Dear Tom Tykwer,

How are you doing these days?   I’m asking because I just saw your new film  A Hologram for the King starring Tom Hanks.

A long time ago (read the 1990’s) you made three features in your native Germany that were original and fresh : Deadly Maria, Winter Sleepers and, of course, Run Lola Run that made you an International House-hold name. But the 2000’s, from The Princess and the Warrior to Cloud Atlas, were what could be fairly called uneven.

And now this King thing, with the other Tom playing his eternal average man. This time stuck in the middle of the Saudi Arabia desert to prepare a big corporate presentation for the King. At the same time he’s into a personal life crisis. I can’t blame you for this actor choice. Is there another person on Earth capable of playing Tom Hank like Tom Hanks does?  If you can afford him, just do it.

You see Tom (Tykwer), I never read David Egger’s Book, the basis of this mess, so I still can’t figure out what caught your attention to the extent of making a feature out of it. Between a satirical portrait of every situation and characters it describes, where supporting actors Sarita Choudhury and Alexander Black struggle with the poor matinee material you wrote, A Hologram for the King is a boring kitchen comedy drama with its full share of commonplaces, ( set in the desert). The supporting characters appear then vanish in a way we are doubting their relevance, in a scripture putting a lot of Prejudice on foreign people because they look like second zone citizens. What the whole project lack in soul could not be saved by the uninspiring music of your long time collaborator Johnny Kleimek,  neither by Frank Griebe’s cinematography far more anonymous this time around than on the numerous projects you did together in the past.

You also add a romance that is especially unconvincing with equally uninspired flashback of Hanks character failed marriage and business transactions. For what is basically a feel good movie we follow too many links, hesitating between drama, comedy, romance, at once. It misses the essential. In fact we don’t feel anything is essential. And to top it all, the cheap humour falls short, so the jokes’ on you.

So Tom, Please, don’t ever do a project like A Hologram for the King again.  Thank you.


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