- 1 hr 37 min
Chattahoochee is a gritty drama film set in the late 1940s and early 1950s, which depicts the real-life story of Christopher Calhoun, a decorated Army veteran who is confined to a state mental institution in Florida for attempted suicide. The film takes its title from the Chattahoochee River, which runs through the region where the story takes place.
Gary Oldman plays Calhoun, a man whose experiences during World War II have left him with severe post-traumatic stress disorder. He believes that the government is secretly experimenting on him and his fellow soldiers, and has become increasingly paranoid and distrusting of authority figures as a result. One day, he decides that the only way to escape his perceived torment is to kill himself, and he jumps off a bridge into the Chattahoochee River.
Calhoun survives his suicide attempt, but as punishment for his actions, he is committed to a mental hospital, where he is subjected to brutal and inhumane treatment by the staff. Desperate to escape from his hellish existence, he begins to plan a rebellion with the help of fellow patient Walker Benson (played by Dennis Hopper).
The film is a powerful meditation on the horrors of war, the dangers of unchecked authority, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of great adversity. It is a brutal and unflinching look at mental illness and the treatment of those deemed "insane" by society, and it does not shy away from depicting the physical and emotional brutality that Calhoun and his fellow patients endure.
Oldman delivers a tour-de-force performance as Calhoun, capturing both the character's vulnerability and his stubborn determination to survive. Hopper, too, is excellent as Benson, a man who has also been broken down by years of mistreatment but who still has a spark of defiance left in him. Frances McDormand also appears in a supporting role as Calhoun's wife, who is initially supportive of her husband's war-time ideals but becomes increasingly alarmed by his descent into madness.
The film's setting is also a major character in its own right. The humid and oppressive heat of the Florida institution is palpable, and the frequent shots of the Chattahoochee River serve as a visual reminder of the powerful forces of nature that surround the characters.
Chattahoochee is a film that is not for the faint of heart, but it is a powerful and emotionally resonant work that will stick with viewers long after it ends. It is a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is still hope for redemption and freedom.
Chattahoochee is a 1989 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3.