One familiarized with Stephen King’s repertoire is likely to regard Mr Harrigan’s Phone as a mash-up of his two prior novels; Hearts In Atlantis and Bag of Bones. The elderly gentleman featured is a combination of Ted and Max from the previously mentioned stories, too, on base appearances.
With post-modernistic narration is over-saturating cinema these days; this film embraces cliches and contradicts them incisively. The characteristics of the high-school and its inhabitants (especially dialogue soaked in buzz-words) initially could make one wonder if the rights of this movie cost a dollar. They’d be mistaken, though.
People could even disrespectfully joke that film is a satire; with the tropes included eventually becoming something one could regard intentionally contrived. King’s attitude toward adolescent dialogue is often unrealistic; i.e. Under The Dome. Both characters being incredibly literate individuals likens the odds that this is a self-referential plot device.
The characteristics of a character presented as being a ‘bully’ within the community is quite paradoxical. In reality, he’d be an outcast. The film is surprisingly subliminally duplicitous.
The surprise scratch-card is another throwback to ‘Hearts,’ too. It acknowledges that the elongated dramatization of bereavement is unnecessary by making the characters lazily discuss is another conveniently contrived contradiction.
An Orwellian condemnation of the the digital age is concisely conveyed; another tongue-in-cheek counterargument to that of all things cliched. It could convince technologically literate people to help the elderly avoid scammers/hackers; which is a bonus.
Mr Harrigan having ‘pirateking’ as an alias assures the audience that he actually was already technologically literate ; testing whether Craig would be willing to reciprocate his mentorship – a final test, of sorts.
Mr. Harrington’s demise and Craig’s emotional response to it being more impactful than the death of his mother addresses alienation afflicting families of many. This film is the covertly mocking (and eventually, transcending) the homogeneous conventions of adaptations frequently condemned by King.
The unintentional gang ties someone can attain through acts of good will are discreetly conveyed; alongside the power of the internet in such bewildering forms of alliance. Such affiliations being extended to those closest to the individual in question are viciously depicted.
Failures of the judicial system and the often deadly impact meager legal repercussions can have on perpetrators are illustriously illustrated, in effect, throwing prisoners into the ‘freedom’ of vigilante crucifixion.
Mr Harrigan’s Phone lowers your perceptions of what’s to come in an irregular manner, embracing tropes while simultaneously dismembering them.