Chattahoochee - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Chattahoochee Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 5, 2007
Hard as hell to sit through, but SO worth it if you do. Gary Oldman plays a Korean War veteran who cracks up and is sent to an asylum/prison camp that makes the farm in Cool Hand Luke look like Disneyland. Supposedly based on a true story about a place in Louisiana. Oldman is fantastic. He's so talented. It's a shame he wastes so much effort playing freaks -- True Romance, anyone?
Super Reviewer
½ June 11, 2007
Based on a true story, a Korean war vet named Emmett Folley (played by Gary Oldman) can't adjust to life back home and has a crisis with the law. He is sent to Chattahoochee, an outhouse of an institution where the state of Florida locks the mentally ill and the criminals together. Emmet is a rebel against the cruel guards. Emmet's wife and kid are visiting less and less, so Emmet finds companionship in Walker Benson (played by Dennis Hopper). The two of them talk of escaping this place, but Emmett has a bigger idea... A movie of the human spirit against all disgusting odds; they were probably hoping for Academy Award nominations with this one. It's grim and gritty, but is ultimately a joy to watch.
Super Reviewer
June 27, 2008
Great performances by Oldman, Hopper, Reed and McDormand add to the intriguing true story of one patient's battle to reform a mental institution. Nice direction and realistic throughout.
December 27, 2008
A good showcase of the standard yet subpar institutions that pervaded the mental help landscape for some time. It is pretty brutal, and Oldman does a superb job as always.


Hopper isn't bad himself, and you have to love the awkwardness of the scene where Hopper asks Oldman how big his wife's boobs were (i could see where this was leading) to where it was all so he could jerk off in the dark (oldman realizes it when the moaning happens and shows perfect discomfort. My only disappointment was how the ending was wrapped up in a neat package in under a minute and a half. Overall, an oft overlooked but very good example of the subject material.
January 5, 2010
A bit overly dramatic and certainly over acted, it feels it is much more important than it really is, but there at least was an effort made. It just doesn't ring true. The score is very good however and there are a few powerful scenes.
February 9, 2009
It was nice to see Oldman and Hopper in the same movie. A graphic look at the abuse that took place, based on true events.
October 21, 2006
Good grief. I wonder if anyone, other than myself, has any knowledge of this film. It's a really well-written, well-acted film. Of course, how could Dennis Hopper and Gary Oldman be bad.
December 30, 2014
Oldman and Hopper - the only reasons I watched this movie...
½ March 27, 2012
Seemingly lost in the haze of an outstanding career, "Chattahoochee" is a largely forgotten film in the resume of Gary Oldman. Though it had the right ingredients for success, it doesn't take long to figure out why the film isn't often mentioned when Oldman is being discussed. To be as blunt as can be, "Chattahoochee" is chock full of ideas, but none contain depth.

One day, Emmett Foley (Oldman) just snaps. The devoted husband and father randomly starts shooting up the neighborhood with hopes that his eventually suicide will instead appear as a murder and his wife (Frances McDormand) will reap the benefits of the insurance. Instead, his suicide fails and he is sent to the Florida State Hospital in "Chattahoochee," a mental ward in which the patients are mistreated by the doctors and staff. There he forms bonds with his fellow inmates, especially Walker Benson (Dennis Hopper).

If "Chattahoochee" seems to resemble "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," it's only in its most basic elements: insane asylum, patients, doctors, mistreatment, guy who doesn't belong. The similarities end there, as do any hopes of "Chattahoochee" being anywhere near "Cuckoo's Nest" level. The problems are endless for this misstep of a film, so much so that not even a trio of talent actors can save it.

The most fatal flaw of "Chattahoochee" is its failure to create wholesome characters. Not one of the subjects is more than a simple sketch. Any kind of development is nonexistent. No one, including the filmmakers, seems to know who the characters are now never mind who they were that led them to the point they're at. There is an overall feeling that the film features segments of a life more so than a story of a complete product. Obviously, it's hard to form any connection whatsoever with the characters and sympathy even becomes a stretch. For a film that focuses mostly on the mistreatment of the patients, lacking a sense of caring is a crippling blow.

What may be most unfortunate is how the script restricts Oldman. Predictably enough, Oldman showcases all the raw, powerful emotion one would expect would come when such a talented actor is in such a challenging role. However, as the character has no real direction, Oldman's moments only happen in spurts. With no real background and a shotty view of the present, Oldman's Emmett gets lost in a riffraff of themes. What should have been an engaging and stirring character instead becomes a jumble of missed opportunities and poor execution. Emmett is simply a creation of the lone, mis-understood yet well-intended stallion that rides in, saves the day, and apparently is capable of working all of his problems out just by becoming a "hero" in the eyes of his minions.

The ineptness in the development of characters doesn't just hinder Oldman's Emmett. Both McDormand's Mae and Hopper's Walker are nothing more than talking shadows. They are sometimes there, but left to remain mysterious. Both characters are woven into a melting pot of themes that never come together. Emmett's past and his marriage to Mae are touched upon, but only briefly. Their sexual problems are only mentioned in passing and the two characters, even in their most vulnerable, never quite seem to connect, which seems ludicrous given the talent in between Oldman and McDormand. Hopper's Walker is nothing more than an ear to talk to and a mouth to listen to. There is no lead-in to the friendship and no build-up either. Finally, religion can't help but poke its head into the frame every so often, but its presence is never substantial enough to be anything more than a confusing derailment to the film's already unclear purpose.

From a technical standpoint, "Chattahoochee" is done no favors. The characters are vague by nature, but matters are made worse by random, misplaced narration which awkwardly tries to dive inside the mind of the characters. The transition from scene-to-scene and the editing in total is clumsy and graceless. An intense, emotional situation may quickly cut away to something less so quite abruptly and resulting in an almost entirely unappealing experience.

There's not a lot of redeeming value in this misfire of a film that plays more like a TV special. If anything, extra points should be awarded to the cast who certainly tried their best to save an otherwise slow, choppy puzzle film, but even then, "Chattahoochee" just isn't so much as mediocre.
March 26, 2012
Emmett in Chattahoochee is one of Gary Oldman's best performances to date and I really believe it should hate a higher rating. Not only is it based on a true story, but both Dennis and Gary are superb actors who shine throughout this one.

I wish more people could see how wonderful it really is.
February 20, 2011
I was an extra in this movie and enjoyed the experience, however being in the movies is very boring to me. This is a wonderful movie, and Dennis Hopper did a great job of acting in it
August 6, 2010
Right after church, everything went kablowee

Emmett Foley is a veteran of the Korean War who suffers from post dramatic stress symptoms from the war. He flips-out on Valentine?s Day and begins shooting a pistol around his neighborhood. He is arrested and sent to a mental institute in Chattahoochee Florida. Foley quickly discovers the treatment of patients in the institute is worse than anything he experienced in the war.

?He didn?t kick himself in the balls.?

Mick Jackson, director of LA Story, The Bodyguard, Volcano, Traffic, Strange World, and Temple Grandin, delivers Chattahoochee. The storyline for this picture is based on the real life events of Chris Calhoun. This was a fascinating film with brilliant character development. The cast was remarkable and included Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Frances McDormand, and Ned Beatty.

?Did I win??
?You don?t smell like it.?

This film initially grabbed my attention while flicking through the channels due to its unusual name (I had never heard of Chattahoochee Florida) and the remarkable cast. This film was wonderful and reminded me a little of Brubaker. While there are a ton of these films based on mistreatment in prisons or insane asylums, this was an interesting depiction of the struggles of a war veteran with the mistreatment of prison inmates. I do recommend seeing this movie and reading the brief wikipedia article on Chris Calhoun.

?Maybe I am stupid like everyone says.?

Grade: B
January 5, 2010
A bit overly dramatic and certainly over acted, it feels it is much more important than it really is, but there at least was an effort made. It just doesn't ring true. The score is very good however and there are a few powerful scenes.
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