Robin Williams as Your Unhinged and Probably Racist Uncle


It was a little over 20 years ago that Michael Douglas, memorably accoutred in thick-rimmed Clubmasters and a flat-top military crew cut, got a little too hot under his starched white collar in the middle of a midsummer morning commute and abandoned his Chevy Chevette in gridlocked traffic to head out on a one-man rampage against the iniquities of the modern world.

Much has changed in the two decades since the release of Joel Schumacher’s Falling Down, but, as The Angriest Man in Brooklyn flatly reminds us, the grievances of America’s petulant middle-class men apparently have not. It seems life is still unendurable for those who feel entitled to absolute comfort from it. Robin Williams plays a graying, slackly jowled lawyer named Henry Altmann, who has frowned and scowled his way to a brain aneurysm he’s mistakenly informed will prove fatal in an hour and a half.

So it is that Henry makes a go of last-minute reconciliation (with his adulterous wife and estranged son) and, perhaps more pressingly, revenge (against life in general). Douglas, animated by hate, threatened a Korean grocer with a submachine gun in a sudden frenzy of nationalism; Williams takes a less violent stand, though he does insult and rob a taxi driver for daring to speak imperfect English.

The old prejudices still stand. These films are rather like old relatives who complain about the state of the country and, when you agree, blame it on the gays or immigration. Certainly frustration with the world is understandable. But this sort of thing makes you a twat.

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