The Angriest Man In Brooklyn

Anger is the only thing they left me. Anger is my refuge, it’s my shield. Anger is my birthright!

Year Released : 201411178902_800
Director : Lenny Abrahamson
Cast : Robin Williams, Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage and James Earl Jones

This is probably the most mainstream film that I have reviewed so far on this site, however, it qualifies for this site because of a lack of a wide release and that it only barely got past the $500,000 mark in America, and that is an amount that barely registered. I would implore you all of avoid it like the plague if you ever get the chance, but this film is almost famous as in many ways has it’s own place in history as it was the last film released before the death of it’s main star, Robin Williams.

For those who are expecting this review to be hugely positive just because Williams has died, you’re in for a surprise. I’m not going to say a film was good just because the main actor had died, or indeed that it was an excellent performance if it wasn’t, and that is definitely the case for this film. In a career that spanned almost 40 years, Williams was not involved in many films worse than this and his performance seemed a million miles away from when he was at the height of his fame in the early-mid 1990s.

Like most other films that don’t get released on a large scale, this suffers from the basics of having a decent concept but an exceptionally poor execution.

Plot

Henry (Williams) is pissed at the world. Ever since his son died a few years ago he has been getting angrier and angrier, but his world is soon blown apart and realises that he must set things right quickly when he is told by Dr Sharon Gill (Kunis) that he will be dead within the next 90 minutes due to a tumour. There’s only one problem and that’s that that was a lie. Gill was having a bad day and decided to like to Henry about his diagnoses as he was harassing her at an appointment.

Henry immediately rushes to see his friends and family, however, that’s not easy given that he has alienated people to the point where they’re not going to drop everything to see him. Along the way he finds out his wife is sleeping with the next door neighbour, he realises criticising his son’s decision to work at a dance studio was wrong and his brother (Dinklage) misses the days when they used to be close.

As Williams tries to patch things up with people he has alienated during his life, Gill rushes to try and find him to correct her mistake and somehow avoid being sacked on the spot by her hospital when she admits to her boss  what had happened almost immediately after lying to Henry.

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So is it actually that bad?

The title is misleading as the only times you see Henry angry before his diagnosis for a brain aneurysm are when he is hit by a taxi and then has to wait for more than two hours for his doctor to arrive for his hospital appointment, and yet the title suggests that it’s highly unusual to get angry in these situations normally. Infact, right at the beginning of a film there is a long list of things that Henry hates and I actually hate those same things, but don’t consider myself to be an angry person. If I got hit by a taxi then I’d be pissed, so what qualifies Henry as “the angriest man” when anyone would get angry in the same situation. There is not one thing about the character of Henry that makes you actually agree that his anger is unusual and there isn’t the angriest man anywhere.

Infact, during the entire film you only see him get angry on three occasions, totaling maybe a minute, at most. An 83 minute film, take out five minutes for credits, leaving 78 minutes overall, and he’s only angry for less than 1% of the film. There is no build up to the anger, you’re just thrown in to this guy’s life and are just expected to know that he’s angry all the time without knowing why. This is made obvious from the first minute as the words uttered in the film comes as Henry lists all the things he hates, but again, everyone has a list of stuff that they hate. They expect us to think this guy is the angriest man in Brooklyn simply because he has a lot of things as gets angry, such as when he is hit by another driver and has to wait for two hours to see a doctor? I’d get pissed off at that, hell, a Buddhist monk would get pissed off in that situation, so this guy isn’t special and is just like 99% of people in the world.

Henry’s family only learns about his condition after they reject his attempts to connect and they launch a desperate attempt to find him. If it takes him dying for them to think they will miss him, then it does make you wonder if it was worth it and whether the relationships would be stronger at the end of this ordeal, or whether things would eventually go back to the way they have been.

There is precisely no character development in his film, seriously, none. You would actually think that there is at least some as the main character supposedly goes from being angry at the world to loving everything, but nope. You always have the view that Henry is a bit of a dick. Whether it be threatening to deport a taxi driver by reporting him to the authorities to mocking a camera salesman with a severe stutter, you almost start to genuinely wish that Dr Gill was correct and that he only had 90 minutes to live.

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The performances are dull and Williams had put in yet another performance where you wonder if he was actually trying. Williams’ career was definitely in decline and had been for many years,? I know some people will say “what about Mrs Doubtfire?”, well given that film is about a man who openly tries to kill his soon-to-be divorced wife’s new boyfriend, I would say that answer is no. It’s such a shame that Williams died on the back of years choosing poor films to be in and not actually acting that well and the last film I can recall him actually being good in was 2002’s excellent “One Hour Photo”.

Mila Kunis continues to be on her regular form, in other words being a terrible actress. I love her in the role as Meg in Family Guy and there’s no denying she’s definitely an attractive woman, but watching her act is painful due to that beautiful face being completely expressionless during each and every film she is in. In this film her character is supposedly very sad that her cat just jumped out of a 10th floor flat window, and but for all we know she could be absolutely delighted at it as there is no range in her acting ability. She was the same in “The Book of Eli” as well.

The other characters are seriously underdeveloped and whilst you can sympathise with them because of Henry’s behaviour, ultimately you don’t care about them whatsoever.

*WARNING, THIS NEXT BIT CONTAINS A SPOILER, I WILL INDICATE WHEN SPOILER ENDS SO YOU CAN CONTINUE READING

For me the most painful scene to watch was right at the end. Henry did die afterall, eight days after the events of the majority of the film, and his family release his ashes into the river. They are confronted by a member of the ship’s crew and they all start shouting at him in a way that they think Henry would have. They could have simply said that they were spreading ashes, but nope, they had to deliver this in a way that was exceptionally painful and cheesy to watch.

*SPOILER FINISHED*

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Summary

I would implore all you to avoid this film at any cost. The trailer makes it look reasonable but it really, really isn’t. Horrible, horrible film.

This film did have potential as it’s an interesting concept, and one improvement would be for the film to last 90 minutes from the point that Henry is told he has 90 minutes to live, but the film as a whole doesn’t last 90 minutes. With a better script, director and cast this film could have actually be very watchable and enjoyable, but alas, we were stuck with this rubbish.

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