Film - The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

To show our love of Robin Williams on the anniversary of his passing we are remembering some of his performances. This is Steve Taylor-Bryant remembering The Angriest Man in Brooklyn...

I hate the DVD cover for The Angriest Man in Brooklyn as it does the film no favours at all. It has the all the cheesy appeal of a straight to supermarket bargain bin title, and I went into my viewing with that level of expectancy. I was wrong. I was so very wrong.

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn sees Robin Williams as Henry Altmann, an overly stress filled and angry man who is today having a particularly bad day. After a traffic collision and a rant at a foreign taxi driver, Henry finds himself at the hospital. His usual Doctor is missing, having taken the weekend off, leaving his Junior Doctor and sometime mistress Dr. Sharon Gill (Mila Kunis,) herself also having a bad day, having to deal with his patients. A very rude and agitated Henry launches a verbal volley at Gill which leads to the diagnosis of a brain aneurysm and a life expectancy of 90 minutes being almost screamed at Henry. Henry leaves the hospital determined to rectify some life issues due to his new predicament and tries to throw himself a party. Only one friend turns up and he is only there to accuse Henry of stealing his girlfriend in college. He returns home to find his wife (Melissa Leo) has been having an affair, his son hasn't spoken to him in two years and refuses to take his Father's phone call. Henry still wants to make up with son and records a video message for him for when he's passed and then jumps of the Brooklyn Bridge in a suicide attempt. Dr. Gill has been searching the city for him so she can start some emergency treatment, dives into the river to save Henry's life and agrees to help him come back with his family and after have treatment to try and prolong his life.

There are some incredible comedic moments in this film. The chemistry between Kunis and Williams is superb, and the scene with Williams trying to buy a video camera from the stuttering James Earl Jones is comedy gold! Williams played Altmann in much the same style as he portrayed Rainbow Randolph in Death to Smoochy and I have always been drawn to Robin Williams’ darker moments so this was exceptionally pleasing. Then comes the difficult part. Would this review have been written this way if Williams hadn't sadly taken his own life? After seeing the cover would I even have sat to watch the film?

Probably not but watch it I did and my real emotions were clearly evident during parts of the film. The scene with Williams trying to film a message to his son comes across as Williams’ suicide note, and I was welling up throughout the scene. Again the tears rolled when Altmann tried jumping from the bridge and I was inconsolable at the very end of the film as it does not have a happy ending. Is my affection for this film higher than maybe it would usually be? Probably, but don’t we want films affecting us at a core level?

Very funny but incredibly sad.

Image - IMDb.