Alan is a failing US business man who is making a last ditch effort to make some money by travelling to Saudi Arabia and selling his idea to the King.
This is one of those films that falls into the category of turning into something totally different to what you expect after seeing the trailers. We are on the journey with Alan as he attempts to succeed in Saudi Arabia in a big meeting, but quite a few things stand in his way and we really start to wonder if it was just a set up and not actually going to be a real meeting.
Everything goes against Alan and his team as they attempt to set up for the presentation which is never going to work without good WIFI. They aren’t given any food and the air conditioning stops working in the tent they have been given as a base. Alarm bells must have been ringing at this point as Alan keeps trying to speak to his contact.
The story takes some strange twists and turns as he attempts to evaluate his life, or what is left of his life. A messy divorce with his ex-wife trying to get money out of him for his daughters college tuition but then emails from his daughter complaining about her mother. Just some of the things that have lead to his downfall.
He is offered some very strange and interesting things as his journey continues. I personally felt the biggest highlight of the film was his relationship with the man who becomes his driver Yousef. The exchanges between the pair really does show that you can find friendship when you least expect it. Both men really needed someone to talk to and help them through challenging stages of life.
I don’t really think you can go wrong with a Tom Hanks performance and he carries this film. The main problems had to be how some of the story was a little disjointed and did not really fit in with the rest of it. I feel certain parts (the Danish girl) could have been taken out and not impacted the film massively.
Something I did like though was showing how different the Middle East is compared to other countries and the differences in law and how people live. This is obviously not something that we would think about all of the time, but the film certainly does highlight what can easily be different. Also the fear that comes with certain situations which I felt was shown in a few different scenes.
I still don’t think I will be massively recommending this film though unless of course you are big Tom Hanks fan as will enjoy his performance. Who doesn’t enjoy Tom Hanks? But other than that I don’t think it has much else going for it in terms of enjoyability and engagement factors. I kept waiting and expecting something different to happen.