Tom Hanks is the affable master of any number of genres: comedy, of course, but also whimsical romance or emotional drama. If its new trailer is anything to go by, then, Hanks’ new movie, A Hologram For The King—from Run Lola Run director and Wachowski collaborator Tom Tykwer, and first-time co-director Ahmed Al-Ibrahim—is opting for all of the above. There’s a love story, with Sarita Choudhury as a Saudi Arabian doctor who catches Hanks’ eye; a mid-life crisis narrative about a sad businessman reinventing himself in a foreign land; and even hints of something more structurally ambitious, including a little Talking Heads-backed music video detailing the abrupt dissolve of Hanks’ character’s happy life.
Adapted from a novel by Dave Eggers, the movie centers on Alan Clay, a salesman attempting to convince the Saudi king to invest in a piece of expensive hologram technology. (Presumably, Saudi Arabia isn’t familiar with the glories of Virtual Tupac or 40-foot-tall Mary J. Bliges.) Accompanied by the mandatory, world-wise, America-loving sidekick, Clay wanders the country with a sad, Hanksian charm, in search of a sale, a purpose, or possibly just a genre to settle safely upon.