Learning Difficulty





Recommended by Title

Recommended by Disability

Mental Illness: Major Films  
TitleChattahoochee (1990)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityMental Combat stress
GenreTrue story
DirectorMick Jackson
CastGary Oldman Dennis Hopper Frances McDormand Pamela Reed Ned Beatty M. Emmet Walsh William De Acutis Lee Wilkof Matt Craven
NotesCombat stress (after war in Korea) leads to a mental breakdown (and recovery) for Oldman who later campaigns to reform awful conditions in hospital. Oldman plays a war veteran who loses control and in a bid to attract attention and what is now called "suicide by police" starts firing at his neighbourhood (at houses not people). The police are too incompetent to hit him even though he stands in an open window. In despair he tries to shoot himself and fails, at least fatally. He is committed to a mental hospital. There the action really begins. Because at Chattahoochee State Mental Hospital neglect and abuse run riot. The sense of 'madness' is laid on with a trowel. The first person to speak to him is speaking impaired. And some of the 'inmates' appear to have physical as well as mental disabilities. What we see is no treatment just prison hell. His wife gets pregnant after he's been inside for 3 years. He grows a beard and studiously makes a record of every brutality. He studies law and finds a legal 'fix' by which if they don't treat us they can't hold us . But the prison board rejects his case. His sister does everything she can to help him and his wife drops out of the scene. In an attempt to silence him he's given electric shock treatment but when we feel he's reached the bottom of despair he comes back fighting and becomes a crusader for prisoners' rights. There are some very good actors in this film but it fails despite them to get inside the characters and the story meanders. This is also another story of abuse which happened over 30 years ago. Nevertheless this is a film well worth watching.

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