Alien Boy: The Life And Death Of James Chasse (2013)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Director Brian Lindstrom employs interviews, archival footage, and videotaped depositions to tell the tragic story of James Chasse, and once promising artist from Portland, Oregon whose lifelong battle with schizophrenia was cut tragically short when he was brutalized to death by a group of local police officers. Despite the policemen's best attempts to convince witnesses that Chasse was a homeless drug dealer, those who had lived in the community for their entire lives knew the truth - that the man who died in police custody after suffering 16 broken ribs and a punctured lung was a troubled yet gentle soul who had likely committed no crime. An inspired writer, artist, and musician, Chasse had been an integral part of the Portland punk rock scene before the onset of severe schizophrenia. In the years that followed, Chasse waged a valiant struggle to live independently. Later, in the aftermath of Chasse's shocking death, his family hits a series of frustrating road blocks while fighting to hold the policeman who killed him accountable for their actions.
Documentary , Special Interest
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Critic Reviews for Alien Boy: The Life And Death Of James Chasse

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (1)

Despite the tragedy of the events, the film is inspiring in that it shows that witnesses and the public are willing to speak out in order to hold police and elected officials accountable.

Full Review… | March 6, 2014
Seattle Times
Top Critic

A lot of what we see and hear is stomach turning. Yet "Alien Boy" attempts to be fair. The judgments come from without, rather than within.

Full Review… | February 21, 2013

Audience Reviews for Alien Boy: The Life And Death Of James Chasse


Artfully made pillorying and "Monday Morning Quarterbacking." The conclusion is front-loaded and heavily reinforced through repetition before even mildly contrary thoughts are permitted voice. Sympathy misdirection is often employed by showing images of James Chasse the child while talking about James Chasse the adult. Whatever truth the movie contains - there may be much of it or there may be little - is made suspect by the employment of these techniques. Basically, what we have here is "Fuck tha Police" for the NPR crowd. N.W.A. delivered that limited message in a 5 minute anthem (and even at that length were testing the limits of the theme); it doesn't serve as well as the foundation of a 90 minute harangue. ALIEN BOY is very well executed, though, and provides satisfying dismay porn for the audience who enjoys gasping, tutting, and moaning their shock and disapproval.

Michael Harbour
Michael Harbour

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