Chattahoochee Mick Jackson

War hero Emmett Foley returns from the Korean War and shoots up his Florida neighbourhood. He hopes the police will kill him so that his wife (Frances McDormand) can collect the life insurance. Instead, his family gets zero and Foley winds up in a mental hospital, Chattahoochee. There, Foley encounters a medieval penal system where prisoners are systematically abused. Considered a madman, Foley embarks on a one-man campaign to correct the hospital's vile practices. Chattahoochee is based on a true story. Unfortunately, the film feels like a movie of the week made with an A-list cast: Gary Oldman as the crusading Foley, McDormand, Dennis Hopper as Foley's friend and fellow inmate, and Ned Beatty as the prison's chief doctor. Throw in the underrated Pamela Reed as Foley's sympathetic sister and the late E. Emmet Walsh as a fellow inmate and you have a sterling cast. Sadly, this talent is wasted on a half-baked script and unimaginative directing. Missed opportunities start with the under-developed relationships between Foley and the people in his life. Though Hopper delivers a sympathetic performance, his friendship with Oldman never gels. The same goes with McDormand, his suffering wife, who's kept at a distance. Oldman and Reed generate some sparks towards the end when Reed crusades for her brother's release and a change in the penal system. However, that is too late to rekindle our interest. Chattahoochee does have its moments however. The opening sequence where Foley shoots up his neighbourhood is charged with electricity and Oldman shines throughout. He never loses the audience, but the film itself does. The DVD is a standard budget package, including the film in both 16:9 and standard pan-and-scan, plus the trailer. Plus: Trailer. (MGM)