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Alien Boy2013

The Life and Death of James Chasse

  • 4.1
On September 17, 2006 James Chasse was stopped by three law enforcement officers in Portland, Oregon in broad daylight. A dozen eyewitnesses watched in horror as the officers tackled, beat, kicked and Taser'd James until he lay motionless on the pavement with sixteen broken ribs and a punctured lung. He died in the back seat of a Portland Police car two hours later. James had not committed a crime, so why did the officers attack him? Who was James Chasse? The officers told eyewitnesses he was a drug dealer, a homeless person, a non-person, a ghost. But that wasn't true at all. James was a writer, an illustrator and a musician; he had a home and a family and friends who loved him. He was a small, shy, gentle person who had been living with schizophrenia for most of his life. ALIEN BOY: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JAMES CHASSE explores his childhood, his involvement in the early Portland punk music scene, the heart-breaking teenage onset of his schizophrenia and his brave efforts to avoid institutionalization and maintain his independence. Using interviews, personal writings, archival footage, official documents and videotaped depositions of the involved police officers, the film examines James Chasse's life and the police actions and decisions that led to his death. What emerges is an intimate and complex story of one man's life, the Chasse family's struggle for justice and a city and a system grappling with accountability.

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2 members like this review

Brian Lindstrom's Alien Boy (2013) is a very detailed, informative, and dramatic documentary that will definitely affect you as a human being unless you have computer chips where your heart and brain should be. It really showed me how society, myself included, routinely attributes the amount of "humanity" that it does to another person solely based on his outward appearance, and his outward circumstances. Very compelling , and well executed film.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (2)

191242.small
top reviewer

Brian Lindstrom's Alien Boy (2013) is a very detailed, informative, and dramatic documentary that will definitely affect you as a human being unless you have computer chips where your heart and brain should be. It really showed me how society, myself included, routinely attributes the amount of "humanity" that it does to another person solely based on his outward appearance, and his outward circumstances. Very compelling , and well executed film.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

The gist of this movie is twofold.

On the one hand Jim Jim's story is about the isolation and discrediting of the mentally ill and the difficulty the rest of us have towards dealing with that fact.

The other theme is the over-reaction that the police sometimes display that results in them using excessive force when responding to calls.

This isn't a Portland story.

The events depicted in the movie have been played out in a similar manner all over the world. For that reason this movie, though tough to watch, is worth viewing.