Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper and OscarĀ(r) winner* Frances McDormand star in this passionately acted and frighteningly real "triumph-over-adversity story"(Screen International) made all the more compellingĀ...because it's tr... more »ue. Oldman is Emmet Foley, a decorated Korean War hero unable to adjust to civilian life. Loading his pistol, Foley takes aim at his Florida hometown, hoping to be killed by police so his wife can collect the insurance. But his actions instead land him in a mental hospital, where he encounters a horrifying scene of abuse, filth and neglect. With the help of a fellow inmate (Hopper), Foley begins a campaign to correct the hospital's vile practices. But can he overcome his reputation as a madman and become a hero once again? *1996: Actress, Fargo« less
"Truthfully, I know nothing of this movie's history, nothing of the actual events from which it was taken. However, considering the film for film's value alone, its strengths are easily indentifiable. Gary Oldman is absolutely brilliant. Any fan who simply loves to watch him work, loves to study each inflection of his ever changable features, will be in heaven just as I was. Though there are many movies of his I enjoy more - few display his breadth and depth so completely. He's nearly flawless here, and is present in almost every scene. Dennis Hopper is also uncomfortably believable, and the supporting cast was perfect (Frances McDormand, Ned Beatty, Pamela Reed). For those whose attention won't be secured by Oldman alone, or who aren't generally intrigued by stories of mental illness or the usual "injustice within the system" scenarios, this film may hold little for you. I happen to like these kinds of films, and therefore didn't find it to be as bleak as critics nationwide promised it would be. There were some interesting visuals, some touching scenes, some disturbing scenes, etc. It had the rambling gait characteristic of "stories inspired by actual events," and moved at a steady pace, though I was annoyed when it ended upbruptly with an odd lack of closure. What I did find daunting could be perceived as a sign of the time it was made or perhaps low dvd quality - some of the editing and cinematography were poor, and there were warped voice-overs and dubbing. Bottom line? It's a must for Gary Oldman fans or anyone who needs proof he can play someone other than a villain, a maybe for true story buffs who care more about studying human nature than facts, and probably a good one to overlook for anyone who's looking for a film that is, taken all-in-all, uplifting or cinematically impressive"
Jordango | America | 02/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is very moving. I saw this because I saw that Gary Oldman was in it and I will watch any movie he is in. I am glad I did, because this is one of his best performances, even as a young as he was. Based on a true story, Chattahoochee mainly takes place in an insane asylum. Dennis Hopper is also very effective as another inmate. The breadth of emotional range and display is amazing out of both actors. This movie also makes me wish Gary Oldman got more lead roles; he can carry a film like no other and is a much better actor than any one else out there (respectively). Anyone looking for a very deep, involving, emotional story that is based on true events should be looking here."
"You're going to be locked up, until we find out if you are
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 01/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Chattahoochee (1989) is a film inspired by true events of a man, after returning home from the Korean war, went crazy go nuts, got hisself locked up in a state loony bin, documented and reported all the abuses he saw and experienced, which eventually led to reforms of the system for public provided care of the mentally ill. Directed by Mick Jackson (L.A. Story, The Bodyguard), the film stars Gary Oldman (Sid and Nancy, Romeo Is Bleeding) as the Emmett Foley, a certified hero in the Korean conflict and a certified nut at home. Also appearing is Dennis Hopper (True Romance, Space Truckers), Frances McDormand (Fargo, Johnny Skidmarks), Pamela Reed (Cadillac Man, Kindergarten Cop), Ned `Squeal Like a Pig' Beatty (Rudy, Radioland Murders), and M. Emmet Walsh (Slap Shot, The Jerk, Blade Runner).
Emmett Foley ain't right in the head...or so it seemed that one, fine Sunday afternoon when he began randomly shooting up his neighborhood with a revolver. Strange thing is, he didn't seem to be trying to hurt anyone...but himself, and even that didn't work out too well, as the local police are terrible marksmen. Eventually Emmett turns his gun on himself, but the wound isn't fatal. While in custody, Emmet is deemed crazy, and transferred to Chattahoochee, a state mental asylum. His frustrated wife Mae (McDormand) can't even begin to understand what's going on, and neither can his family, including his sister Earlene (Reed). Upon arriving, Emmett finds the conditions at the state run facility deplorable, including overcrowded, filthy, roach infested barracks, no medical treatment readily available to the inmates, cruel and abusive guards, a neglectful and uncaring staff, harsh punishments, and food not fit for human consumption (I can honestly say I've never see a green pork chop until I saw this film). Now here's the kicker...seems Emmett's not crazy, at least no more than the rest of us, as his actions had a specific purpose, and therein lies the dilemma...the only way to get released is to be judged cured by the powers that be, but how can you be cured when you ain't sick? Anyway, Emmett, witnessing all sorts of abuses, begins documenting and writing letters to anyone who'll listen, becoming sort of an advocate for those who can't speak for themselves, eventually incurring the wrath of the institution's board in the form of electroshock therapy and daily doses of heavy sedatives, all while his sister is working desperately on the outside to get the attention of gooberment officials who might be able to save Emmett from the belly of the beast before it's too late...
I thought this film a decent one, but what I really enjoyed where the performances, especially from Oldman and Hopper, the latter playing Walker Benson, a convict who faked his way into the mental institution to get out of jail, hoping for easy time, I suppose, essentially jumping from the frying pan and into the fire...you see, in jail, you have a term you have to serve, and then you can get released, but in the loony bin, they can hold you for a long as they want, especially if you've got no next of kin, as was the case with Hopper's character. Actually, this aspect wasn't entirely clear to me, whether Hopper's character, along with a few others, got themselves admitted from the penitentiary to the nut house under false pretenses, or they were placed there as a means to alleviate an overcrowded system. I suppose it doesn't really matter, but it was question that stuck in my mind. I've found people either really like, or hate, Gary Oldman's performances, with few in between. As for myself, I'm a fan, as few actors I can think of get into a part as deeply as he does, accepting a vast variety of different roles, the only other, just off the top of my head, being Edward Norton. Hopper does an excellent job, providing a very controlled, restrained, realistic performance, something we don't get to see all that often, given his penchant for playing over the top villain types in a number of films, my personal favorite being the character Frank Booth from the 1986 David Lynch film Blue Velvet. My favorite scene in this film is when Emmett and Walker are lying in adjacent cots in the darkened barracks, and Walker is asking Emmett to describe some of his wife's more noticeable attributes, specifically her sweater puppies. Emmett, reluctant at first, eventually opens up, going into detail the difficulties in the sack he and his wife had after Emmett returned home from service, baring very personal and intimate details about himself, only afterwards to turn and see Walker had taken the bits he needed to satisfy himself through manual stimulation. Lovely...both McDormand and Reed also do very well, considering their parts were somewhat limited. One really strong scene worth sticking around for is when McDormand's character visits her husband, for the last time, breaking some particularly difficult news. With anyone else she might have appeared callous, shallow, and cold hearted, but McDormand really brought forth the frustration and anger within her character, one that obviously tried to understand the situation but finally gave up given the futility of the task, in terms of her character's capabilities. My only real complaint with regards to this movie was it felt like it was slightly abbreviated, especially given the story was meant to take place over a three or four year period. Perhaps the movie could have done with a little extra padding, but still, it's a very worthwhile, underrated film, worthy of a rental if you're interested in some superior performances.
The picture quality on this DVD release, in both the fullscreen (1.33:1) and widescreen anamorphic (1.85:1) formats, looks very sharp and clean, and the Dolby Digital Surround audio comes through well, with no complaints from me. The only extra included is a theatrical trailer for the film.
If I learned anything from this film it's that Gary Oldman sings like an angel, at least when he's all doped up...also, if you find yourself incarcerated in a mental institution, do not conceal things up your backside because the guards will employ a rather unpleasant method to find whatever it is you're hiding."
Alyssa A. Lappen | Earth | 03/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I won't comment on the story line since others have done quite well in that regard. The acting, however, is superb, and after watching a download of this film, I can recommend it very highly. The film is a lot easier to watch than many action dramas with pointless violence; the settings are extremely well done, the acting is superb, and the outcome of this real life story gives some meaning to the otherwise pointless suffering endured by the mid 1950s inmates of the Chattahoochee insane asylum. Excellent film, overall."
Chattahoochee - what is crazy? what is right & wrong?
Ali | CA | 03/28/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
So granted this is an older movie, so it's not going to have that modern movie feel, but the concept is great: a Korean War veteran shoots out the neighborhood in an attempt to get murdered by police so his wife can collect insurance money (although she doesn't know about this plan). It goes awry and he ends up in this medieval mental prison ward out in the middle of nowhere. There were no rules or rights for any of the men in this camp and once the main character sees how they are being mistreated, he sets out to do something about it, losing everything he ever had (including his mind at some points) in order to bring about a change.
Gary Oldman in ANY role is beyond amazing, but to give him a character like this is always a treat and privilege to watch. But it is a little dated now, so I'd say only watch if you are a Gary fan.
(It should be noted to be on the lookout for the "Shoe Man" - aka the crazy guy obsessed with his shoe-- if you do buy this movie... he is hilarious!)."