Film stills © 1989 – Hemdale Films
Stuck at home with a cold, I decided to peruse Netflix to see what random movies I could find to watch. Something that stood out was “Chattahoochee”. The plot looked interesting, and with a cast of Gary Oldman and Dennis Hopper, I thought it was worth a watch. I wasn’t disappointed.
At the beginning I wasn’t quite sure where the story was going. I had read the plot (badly written on Netflix) and that was all. I was given the impression that Oldman’s character, a Korean war vet, would focus more on his wartime experiences – the beginning focus a lot on that. However, it seems like that isn’t very important to the story as a whole (a little misleading, but my only criticism).
After a shooting rampage in his peaceful neighborhood, Oldman’s character, Foley, is sent to a mental institution called Chattahoochee. It is here that the story unfolds. Oldman, who is sane, begins to take notice of the injustices done to the inmates in Chattahoochee. With the help of other sane ‘patients’ like Benson (Hopper’s character) he is able to smuggle out records of abuses to his sister.
I don’t know why I had never heard of this film before. It was amazing, and gives you hope at the end that not all injustices go unnoticed. Foley, who has no reason to care about those he is living with in Chattahoochee and has a array of issues of his own, puts his issues aside to help them. Oldman is, as usual, and amazing actor and you really want Foley to win in the end. The large number of ‘extras’ who play the other patients are equally important and amazing in their acting ability.
According to the introduction, this movie is based on a true story (as so many movies are). I don’t know how much of it is really true (the real life mental hospital was investigated on abuse charges) but to me that’s not the point. The feeling towards mental patient in many ways is true, and that seems to be the main point of the plot.
Overall, I think “Chattahoochee” is quite a good film, which has seemed to have slipped through the cracks. I hope I am wrong in this assumption (I watch a lot of movies, but that doesn’t mean I know about them all).