Synopsis by Paul Brenner
Since Chattahoochee is a story based on true events, it may seem absurd to suggest that the actual events of Chattahoochee are pirated from other true-life tales like Gideon's Trumpet. But it certainly seems as if true stories are just as derivative as any fictional narrative coming out of Hollywood. The Chattahoochee saga details the Emmett Foley (Gary Oldman) story. The film takes place in 1955, when Foley, a Korean war veteran depressed and shattered by continual unemployment, snaps and shoots up his neighborhood, hoping that the police will come and shoot him down like a crazed dog so that his wife Mae (Frances McDormand) can collect on the insurance money. Instead of being gunned down by the law enforcement officers, he is sent to Chattahoochee, a notorious prison for the mentally ill which makes The Snake Pit look like a vacation in Bermuda. The gruesome conditions in the jail send Foley into listlessness. But then his anger gets the better of him and, encouraged by a friend, Walker Benson (Dennis Hopper), he begins sending letters to the authorities protesting the sub-human conditions in the mental facility. Due to his efforts, a state commission is formed to investigate conditions in Chattahoochee, and Foley has a chance to tell the world of the horrible conditions.
mental-institution, reform [improve], letter, veteran [military], depression, patient [medical], suicide-attempt