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CHATTAHOOCHEE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Emmet Foley (Gary Oldman), is a decorated Korean War hero who's finding it difficult to adjust to civilian life in 1955 America. Loading his pistol, Foley takes aim at his Florida hometown, hoping to be killed by police so his wife can collect on the insurance. But his actions instead land him in the Chattahoochee State Mental Hospital, where he encounters a reality far more horrifying than this everyday life. When he sees his fellow inmates violently abused by guards and forced to live in inexorable filth, Foley rekindles his respect for humanity ... and begins a campaign to correct the hospital's vile practices, overcome his reputation as a madman - and become a hero once again.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
There is no greater danger than when the State is effectively the enemy of its own people - whether by dictatorship, or by sheer ignorance and neglect, as in bureaucratic failure. This fact based story from the mid 50s American penal system is a sobering and dramatic reminder of how many states treated mentally ill patients, criminal or otherwise. The ignorance that spawned abuse is inexcusable on humanitarian grounds. We wonder how the Nazis could persevere - well, democratic systems produced their own Nazis, and not only in America.

Gary Oldman, in a role just three years after making Syd & Nancy (about the Sex Pistols), is terrific as Emmet the odd, but certainly not insane protagonist. Dennis Hopper makes a surprisingly balanced fellow prisoner, Walker, considering this is an 80s film, when Hopper was at height of his unpredictable, edgy period. Pam Reed as his sister and Frances McDormand as his wife round out the principals in this tense, gripping drama within the prison genre - a big field.

For those of us who believe that one man can sometimes make a difference - even if at enormous cost - this is a life affirming (if confronting) film.

Published January 15, 2009

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

CHATTAHOOCHEE: DVD (M)
(US, 1989)

CAST: Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Frances McDormand, Pamela Reed, Ned Beatty, M. Emmet Walsh

PRODUCER: Aaron Schwab, Faye Schwab

DIRECTOR: Mick Jackson

SCRIPT: James Hicks

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andrew Dunn

EDITOR: Don Fairservice

MUSIC: John Keane

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Joseph T. Garrity

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1.33:1; DD stereo

SPECIAL FEATURES: [English subtitles]

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Shock

DVD RELEASE: January 10, 2009







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