Sunday, January 1, 2017

Movie Review: "The Angriest Man in Brooklyn" (2014)

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Movie"The Angriest Man in Brooklyn"
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Year: 2014
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 23 minutes

Henry Altmann (Robin Williams) seems to walk around in a constant state of rage. After a traffic collision with a taxi, Henry goes to the hospital to check for injuries. With his regular doctor on vacation, Dr. Sharon Gill (Mila Kunis) performs his check and notices a brain aneurysm on his scan. This throws Henry into a fit of anger as he pressures Dr. Gill to give him an estimate of how long he has left. Frustrated, she blurts out that he has 90 minutes left to live, which causes Henry to leave the hospital and try to make amends with the people in his life.

"The Angriest Man in Brooklyn" is an adaptation of an Israeli film called "The 92 Minutes of Mr. Baum" and is directed by Phil Alden Robinson, who is perhaps best known for directing "Field of Dreams" and "Sneakers." This is one of Robin Williams's final films as he plays the titular angriest man himself, a man named Henry Altmann. Henry has been living a life of misdirected rage ever since his son passed away. Unable to cope with the loss, Henry has become truly unhappy, a miserable man in every sense of the word in a life where he has pushed everything good away and has evolved into an isolated asshole. At the beginning of the film, Henry Altmann is diagnosed with an inoperable brain aneurysm, and under yelling and angry duress, Dr. Sharon Gill, played Mila Kunis, who is not his actual doctor but rather someone tasked with giving him the bad news during a crappy day of her own, tells Henry he only has 90 minutes left to live. From that moment on, Henry makes it his mission to right the wrongs of his life and to make the most of his mere 1 hour and 30 minutes left on earth, all while Sharon, who feels guilt-ridden by her lapse of judgment in telling her patient the amount of time he has left to live, scours Brooklyn in an attempt to find him before it's too late.

There is a quote in this film where Henry states, "And my tombstone will read Henry Altmann 1951-2014. I never realized until now it's not the dates that matter, it's the dash." We can't help but to relate this directly to the untimely death of Robin Williams and tear up. Watching "The Angriest Man in Brooklyn" now, after he is gone, it makes it difficult to separate the two people with a quote so powerfully appropriate to the actor's life itself. This movie is a drama with dark comedic tones, but it never truly knows what it wants to be in the end. Most of the time, it's overly dramatic, but with such an established, perfect actor like Williams, comedy often takes over as the dominant genre. Robinson attempts to draw humor from the anger of a dying man. Sometimes it works flawlessly, other times, not so much. Most of it is mid-level drama with a couple of true laughs and feels thrown in for good measure, but it's clearly not the best effort on the part of Williams or director Phil Alden Robinson. The supporting cast also does an okay job with what they have to work with, most notably Peter Dinklage, but again, it's nothing extraordinary. The pacing is pretty slow, and despite being only 83 minutes long, it does feel much longer.

As people who have lost loved ones to terminal illnesses and as people who bared witness to friends and family who have died suddenly without any warning, it's true what they say: you never really know how much time you've got left on this planet. It's a shame it took the sense of impending, immediate doom for Henry Altmann to realize that he should have lived his life in a better, more happy and fulfilling way. "The Angriest Man in Brooklyn" winds up drawing some circumstantially related emotional strings as it draws a few unintentional parallels with the lead actor's life and his recent death. It's not as bad as the IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes reviews suggest, but it's not the best film you'll ever see. Williams is good in this film, one of his final roles, but taking on parts like this sadly makes us wonder if he knew something we didn't. It's clearly not his best performance, but he always acted with such a resounding conviction that he made a mediocre part feel better than it would if it had been anyone but him. Still, we wish this movie had been better.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 5.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 10%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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