.

Chattahoochee

Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Frances McDormand

Directed by Mick Jackson
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
April 20, 1990

Integrity Oozes from every frame of this fact-based film about human suffering, but it bored me breathless. The star is Britisher Gary Oldman – riveting in the right role (Sid and Nancy) and gratingly intense when weak material forces him to push (Criminal Law). He pushes like hell here. Oldman plays Emmett Foley, a Korean War vet who shoots up the small Florida town in which he's always been a model citizen. Foley wants the cops to kill him so his wife, the splendid Frances McDormand, can get the insurance. Instead, Foley is sent to the state mental hospital at Chattahoochee. There he spends most of the Fifties enduring the dirt, vermin, beatings, sexual aberrations, shock treatment and other atrocities that we've seen in movies from The Snake Pit to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

The story may be true, but first-time feature director Mick Jackson stages it like a B movie, polishing the plentiful clichés in James Hicks's screenplay as if they were freshly minted. All the usual suspects show up: the randy bunkmate (Dennis Hopper), the incompetent doctor (Ned Beatty), the sadistic attendant (Gary Bullock). Pamela Reed has a few affecting scenes as Foley's loyal sister. But Jackson's prime concern is myth building. No opportunity for Christ symbolism is missed when Foley, in a full beard, suffers tortures while he labors to learn the law, win his release and work for hospital reform. By substituting pretense for simplicity, Jackson has made Chattahoochee hard to watch and harder to swallow.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “You Oughta Know”

    Alanis Morissette | 1995

    This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com