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Movie Review: The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

With all the various platforms available for movie delivery these days, there are some films that totally slip by unnoticed, since they don’t get a regular theatrical release. Such is the case with The Angriest Man in Brooklyn. It had a one-week run in New York and Los Angeles, and then went to the video-on-demand section of your cable or satellite provider. Despite the title, and presence of star Robin Williams, it’s not a comedy. Williams plays an attorney in Brooklyn whose hard knocks have completely soured him on life, and he’s determined to take it out on anyone who’s handy, which he does with great regularity. A minor incident causes him to go to his doctor, who is out of town. The attending physician tells Williams that a previous scan revealed a brain aneurism and that he is likely to die within the next ninety minutes. So what would you do in such circumstances? Live it to the fullest? Try to reconnect with those from whom you are estranged? Or be even angrier?

In addition to quite possibly a career best performance from Robin Williams, the cast includes Mila Kunis, Oscar-winner Melissa Leo, Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame, and cameo appearances by James Earl Jones, and an unbilled Louis CK.

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn plays like one of those ironic short stories that are assigned in 12th grade English. Initially you may think, “Aw, I don’t wanna read this,” but after the fourth or fifth reading eventually come to embrace it. The film has that same Scrooge / A Christmas Carol air about it, and will, hopefully, leave you wanting to watch it again, and to share it with all your friends and family.

But despite it’s star power, and that it’s one fine movie, one of the most egregious oversights about The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is that it’s the first film directed in 12 years by Phil Alden Robinson. If that’s not a recognizable name in your cinematic household, Robinson directed The Sum of All Fears which is my favorite of the Jack Ryan action thrillers, and also wrote and directed one of the most beloved films ever…Field of Dreams. It’s unconscionable that a filmmaker of his talent isn’t working on a regular basis. But apparently the studio corporoids don’t embrace talent the same way they embrace special effects, comic book heroes, and the “more-of-the-same” mentality in filmmaking. Plus The Angriest Man in Brooklyn tells its tale in a brief 83 minutes, without extra padding or unnecessary characters; much as you might do while believing you have ninety minutes to live. And that’s also the antithesis of the current “more-is-more” mindset in movie land.

Here’s an opportunity for you to seek out a really good film instead of settling for what’s being shoveled into your local multiplex on a weekly basis. The R-rated The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is NOT showing at a theatre you, but you can download it from the Video-On-Demand function on most cable or satellite providers.