A Hologram for the King

Book: A Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers. Movie: A Hologram for the King starring Tom Hanks. No gun fights and no car chases, minimal sex and nudity, and a boring title. Worth reading and/or seeing. I did both. Tom Hanks plays the former head of Schwinn Bicycle who decided to offshore production to China and ended production in the US. In the book/movie, he is now employed by a company hoping to sell a new form of video-conferencing using 3D holograms to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Hanks has just undergone a difficult divorce and is stressed emotionally and financially.

Saudi Arabia is a brand new experience for him. He and his team are assigned to a tent in a new, largely unbuilt, city in the desert to make their sales pitch. After finally successfully making their presentation, the sale is awarded to a Chinese competitor.

Tom Hanks always adds credibility to any film in which he appears. This film gives a glimpse of what to most Americans is an unknown land. Hanks is treated for a cyst on his back by a divorced Saudi woman doctor. They become romantically involved and at the film’s conclusion, Hanks has quit his American job to stay in Saudi Arabia as a condo salesman.

During the film, his driver Yousuf asks if Hanks would join him in supporting a revolution to overthrow the repressive government of Saudi Arabia. Hanks answers yes, but he would not send money or arms or US troops.

Saudi Arabia is an US ally. It and Iran are rivals in the Middle East, and both support different religious factions that support terrorists. Iran supports groups that Israel has labelled terrorists, and Saudi Arabia supports Sunni terrorists such as al-Qaeda and ISIS. I believe that we are supporting the wrong horse in the Middle East. We should be allied with Iran, rather than Saudi Arabia.