"My uncle died of one. One minute he was brushing his teeth, the next, he was dead. Didn't even have time to rinse."
Robin Williams was and remains for me a legendary actor. When I was young I watched "Mork and Mindy" and was always looking forward to witness the hyper-kinetic way of acting that this star in the making showed on the screen. When I heard the news about his death, I was speechless. The days after this sad news, masterpieces such as "Good Morning, Vietnam", "Dead Poets Society", "Good Will Hunting" and my favorite "Patch Adams" were broad-casted as a tribute. But I deliberately didn't watch them. In the same way I couldn't induce myself to watch "The angriest man in Brooklyn". Today I felt the time was right to finally see this great actor at work again. It's a typical Robin Williams movie, although his dead made me look at this movie in a different way and it felt as if it got a whole different meaning. A film about loneliness, resentment, anger, death and suicide. It was quite morbid at times. I was wondering if he was preparing his fatal ending here already mentally.
"The angriest man in Brooklyn" certainly isn't one of Williams's greatest films, but the role as Henry Altman was cut out for him. A sullen older guy who has a full-time job as a disgruntled citizen and making a fuss about everything and nothing. A cynical pessimist who loses his patience very quickly and immediately becomes abusive full of rage. Henry used to be a loving husband and father, but a tragic event turned him into a bitter man. The day he mistakenly hears that he has only 90 minutes to live, told by Dr. Sharon Gill (Mila Kunis) who's coping with some personal issues herself, he starts a mission to fix what has gone wrong in his life and tries to smooth out the rough edges. And that's the start of a chaotic chase and search for Henry with some comical situations and emotional moments.
Unfortunately, the humorous scenes were rather scarce. Besides the hilarious fragments with the stuttering salesman James Earl Jones, the collision with the Uzbek taxi driver and to a lesser extent the conversation with Richard King during a reunion, there's not much to laugh about in this tragicomedy. In my opinion this is because of the heavy theme that actually forms the common thread throughout this story. Williams also had difficulties with this. The way the outbursts of anger turn up, didn't look like well-timed and natural. It seemed as if he meticulously followed the script and then suddenly realized that it was time for a tantrum.
Kunis also wasn't spared some clichéd personal characteristics. Although it's her merit that she did a fine job next to the grand master himself and I liked her much better than in "Jupiter Ascending" (although that wasn't so hard to realize). Peter Dinklage, Melissa Leo and Hamish Linklater played the roles of respectively Henry's brother, wife and son. They all show the same pattern of behavior. First they all have nothing good to say about their related family member and afterwards they're running their butt off to pick up the pieces again. Not very original. When I think of the phenomenon Williams, I definitely won't associate this film with him. To me it looked suspiciously a lot like "Falling Down" with Michael Douglas, but this is the semi-humorous version. Kind of sad that his career didn't end with a blast of a movie.
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