All Alien Boy Reviews

Critics have acclaimed the documentary film ‘Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse’.

IMDB Reviews – 8.0 out of 10
Rotten Tomatoes – 88% liked it

Recent Reviews

They Got Him on the Run: ‘Alien Boy’ Documents the Short Life of a Portland Musician. From The Stranger, March 2014. “‘Alien Boy,’ winner of the best film award at the 2013 Local Sightings Festival, begins with references to Portland bands like Poison Idea and the Wipers, but it isn’t a music film. It’s a documentary about police brutality and mental illness, since subject James Chasse, also known as Jim Jim, suffered from schizophrenia, a condition that inadvertently contributed to his tragic death.”

Review – Alien Boy: The Life And Death Of James Chasse. From, March 2014. “Told through an extensive collection of interviews, courtroom footage and newspaper clippings, Alien Boy maps the tragic story of James Chasse. A schizophrenic struggling with the norms of life, Chasse was violently tackled and brutally beaten by police officers in Portland Oregon. Six years in the making, this reverent film takes us from Chasse’s bright punk rock youth through his ever increasing mental struggle to his brutal death and the contemptuous court proceedings that followed.”

‘Alien Boy’: documenting a mental-illness tragedy. From the Seattle Times, March 2014. “A four-star review of ‘Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse,’ director Brian Lindstrom’s documentary that details one man’s struggles with schizophrenia and his encounter with Portland police officers.”

‘Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse’: A Police-Brutality Doc Our Mayor Should See. From the Seattle Weekly, March 2014. “Seen during last fall’s Local Sightings Film Festival, this Portland documentary was my top pick—and the jury-award winner, hence its return engagement. The 2006 death in police custody of homeless schizophrenic James Chasse will inevitably remind viewers of our own SPD shooting of John T. Williams in 2010. It also has echoes in last fall’s fatal stabbing of a Sounders fan in Pioneer Square by Donnell D. Jackson, evidently also a schizophrenic failed by the system.”

‘Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse’. Editor’s Pick from Seattle Magazine, March 2014. “This gripping, heartbreaking documentary, a 2013 Local Sightings Film Festival award winner, concerns the tumultuous life of Portland poet and punk rocker James Chasse.”

Now Showing: ‘Alien Boy – The Life and Death of James Chasse’. From the Vanguard Seattle, March 2014. “James Chasse died in Portland police custody on September 17, 2006 after being beaten and tased. Chasse had been diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teen, but was on regular medication and was a well-liked writer and musician in the town. While family and friends mourned, the city was left with a fight to find accountability in the death of an unarmed, innocent man. As the documentary Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse shows, the city may never come to an easy conclusion.”

Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse. From CriticNic, March 2014. “Who was James Chasse? That was a question I asked myself upon receiving this documentary film chronicling the life and untimely and tragic death of the larger than life individual. As it turns out, James was not only a well liked man around his hometown of Portland, Oregon, but his death sparked public outcry after the reasons for his death were revealed.”

‘Alien Boy’ Gets a Well Deserved Release from Breaking Glass Pictures. From The Independent Critic, February 2014. “It is practically impossible to feel anything but rage after watching ‘Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse’, a feature-length documentary six years in the making by director Brian Lindstrom chronicling the life and death of Portland, Oregon punk rock poet James Chasse, whose life ended on September 17th, 2006 at the hands of Portland police officers following behavior that they deemed “suspicious” enough to warrant a brutal beating that Chasse with 26 broken bones in 16 of his ribs and with a punctured lung.”


Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival 2013: ‘Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse’ Review. From, November 2013. “An incendiary look into a case of police brutality, Brian Lindstrom’s look at one schizophrenic man’s undignified and completely preventable death might be the heaviest film in this year’s festival line-up, but it also might be the most important.”

Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse Film Review. From T Mak World, November 2013. “Where have we heard this before? Actually, everywhere. Based on this headline, one can conclude that the wheels of civic order had played out with tragic consequences. The man in question here is a diminutive 42 year old named James Philip Chasse Jr. Peeling back the layers, we bear witness to an examination of a life that held so much promise.”

Quick take from the Seattle Local Sightings Film Festival – Stress, Speed, Scripture, and Schizophrenia. From the Stranger, September 2013. “The best and most infuriating title I previewed for LSFF is a documentary set in Portland’s trendy Pearl District circa 2006. In ‘Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse’, its 42-year-old schizophrenic subject is football-tackled to the pavement by a cop for peeing in public. A dozen ribs are broken, a lung is punctured, Chasse is hogtied and taken to the station, and he soon dies of respiratory arrest. The case is like Seattle’s scandalous 2010 police shooting of John T. Williams, made even more timely by the recent Sounders stabber, Donnell D. Jackson, evidently also a schizophrenic failed by the system. Chasse was at the other end of the mental-health spectrum—a shy, frail, fearful man living in assisted housing who loved coffee shops and the library. Friends and family tenderly recall an avid music fan during the punk-rock ’80s who published a zine, then succumbed to schizophrenia during his late teen years.”

The Rumpus Talks With ‘Alien Boy”s Brian Lindstrom About Honoring James Chasse Jr. From the Portland Mercury, August 2013. “Portland filmmaker Brian Lindstrom’s brutal and bracing documentary about a horrifying 2006 death at the hands of Portland cops, ‘Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse’, is receiving some well-deserved national attention months after its February premiere at Cinema 21.”

The Rumpus Interview With Brian Lindstrom. From The Rumpus, August 2013.”Brian Lindstrom is a Portland-based documentary filmmaker, whose recent film ‘Alien Boy covers the life and death of James Chasse’, a man with schizophrenia who was killed at the hands of Portland police. Lindstrom also directed and edited Finding Normal (for an impressively low $5,000), a documentary that follows long-term addicts trying to rebuild their lives; it is the only film ever to be shown to inmates in solitary confinement at Oregon State Penitentiary.”

‘Alien Boy’ is a Chilling Documentary on One Case of Police Brutality. From Bitch Magazine, April, 2013. “Cases of police brutality are reported time and time again across the country. And yet, despite the passing of years and supposed reforms, we are always taken aback when new cases arise. Seven years after one particularly awful case in Portland, Oregon, the new independent documentary ‘Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse’ captures the horror once more. The film is a chilling, intimate look at one case of police brutality and the flawed justice system that allows officers to act with impunity.”

Reviews from Portland International Film Festival screenings – February 2013

Film Explores The Life And Death Of James Chasse. From Oregon Public Broadcasting. “Friday evening, the Portland International Film Festival will bring movie goers one of the darkest moments in Portland’s recent history. On September 17 2006, Portland Police officers confronted James Chasse on a Pearl District corner. Chasse was subsequently beaten and shocked with a Taser. He died in police custody, shortly afterward.”

Alien Boy – review. From Oregon Movies, A to Z, February 2013. “Lavishly made, ‘Alien Boy’ is a visually sumptuous, riveting narrative.”

Portland International Film Festival Preview: Alien Boy. Portland Monthly, February 2013. “‘Alien Boy’ is a triumph—and an emotional bulldozer. Despite Lindstrom’s stated artistic mission, the details of the stonewalling, buck-passing, and misinformation perpetrated by members of the law-enforcement community will undoubtedly inspire anger and confusion. The film is an unflinching closeup of a shocking tragedy, one that could have been prevented at any number of points along the way, if anyone involved in his apprehension had taken a moment to treat James Chasse with an ounce of compassion. Those seeking closure on this terrible incident will likely walk away unsatisfied—but with a great deal to think about.”

The creative, troubled life of James Chasse. From the Oregonian, February 2013. “Most of all, Lindstrom wants the film to remind people of Chasse’s humanity and challenge prevailing views of the mentally ill. I think in some ways this terrible tragedy afforded me the chance to shed some light on Jim, to show that his life had beauty, challenge, love, hardship, grace, all the things all our lives have. It’s easy for us to forget that when we see someone like Jim on the street. That’s someone’s brother, son, lover, friend — even if the mental illness might be so acute that they might have a hard time fulfilling those roles.”

‘Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse’ The human soul behind the monster’s mask. From Willamette Week, February 2013. “Infuriating, tragic, heartbreaking and incendiary in equal measures, Portland filmmaker Brian Lindstrom’s ‘Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse’ is a documentary that plays out like a horror film and leaves you absolutely breathless. The story is one familiar to any Portlander who has picked up a newspaper any time in the past seven years: Chasse, crippled by schizophrenia but by all accounts harmless, was beaten by Portland police, died in custody and was the subject of a massive cover-up that portrayed him as a monster.”

Blurb for ‘Alien Boy’ by Shawn Levy, film critic for The Oregonian, on, February 2013. “Brian Lindstrom’s Alien Boy packs a horrifying punch: intimate, terrible & true.”

The Tragic Legacy of James Chasse Jr. From the Portland Mercury, February 2013. The physical ingredients that made up James Chasse Jr.’s death on a Sunday afternoon in autumn are both well known and awful. The police officers chasing an obviously terrified and mentally ill man. The tackle so forceful, witnesses could hear the “slap of bodies” bounce from Pearl District buildings. The kicks and punches and Taser strikes. The 16 broken ribs and the blood.”

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales on Alien Boy: “It’s a Stunning Film”. From the Willamette Week, February 2013. “Hales offered a glowing review of the movie as he emerged from Cinema 21 on Friday night. It’s a stunning film,” he told WW as he left Cinema 21. “It’s a very clear-eyed look into a tragedy. We have to have a culture where officers use the minimum force that is required. This reinforces my interest in making that real. It’s a public service, and I hope more people see it.””

‘Alien Boy’ review: The untimely end of James Chasse. From The Oregonian, February 2013. “A provocative, heartbreaking documentary about a mentally ill Portland man who died in police custody in 2006, the film seeks to find the truth about what happened while also examining the life of the victim. Grade: A”

Mad About Movies: ‘Alien Boy’. From Shawn Levy of and the Oregonian, February 2013. Video only.

Review: Alien Boy: The Life And Death Of James Chasse. From, February 2013. “On a pleasant Autumn afternoon in the Pearl District of Portland in 2006 a man named James Chasse attracted the attention of a Portland Transit Police officer and a Multnomah County Sheriff’s deputy. The two later claimed they thought Chasse was urinating in public. Chasse, suffering from a “fear of cops” brought on by paranoid schizophrenia, began to flee. Christopher Humphreys of the Transit Police caught up with him. Chasse landed on the ground. Three hours later Chasse was dead. Blunt force trauma to the chest was the official cause of death. Sixteen of his ribs were broken.” With video.

‘Alien Boy’ chronicles life of James Chasse. From, February 2013 and includes video. “Portland Mayor Charlie Hales was among a crowd in attendance of the premiere of ‘Alien Boy’ at Cinema 21 in Northwest Portland Friday evening.”