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That way madness lies

That Way Madness Lies – synopsis

Shaky and utterly chilling, iPhone footage shows Duanne Luckow’s descent into madness: his daily interactions, paranoid delusions and a full-blown psychotic episode at the top of 611-foot Multnomah Falls' crashing waters near Portland, Oregon. He informs viewers that he means business. Mental-health experts from Yale School of Medicine and from the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia University say the iPhone footage Duanne Luckow shot, as he descends into madness in late 2010, offers a rare, unprecedented, unfiltered look at the mind of an untreated schizophrenic. Law enforcement officials nationwide have requested clips for the purpose of training police officers, often the first responders to those with mental health issues.

This is a specific harrowing story about a singular family trying to find its way through society’s imperfections, stigmas, and prejudice when dealing with mental illness. It is a search for answers — a free-fall into a quagmire of conflicting interests, policies, and despair.

Three months into Duanne’s first court-ordered 180-day commitment at Oregon State Hospital, Sandra Luckow, his sister, and filmmaker,  visited him. He gave her his iPhone with 250 video clips. He wanted his experience documented.

As the film proceeds, we see a myriad of seemingly insurmountable obstacles surround the Luckow family: a bill for almost $118,000 from the hospital that could not medicate him; several misdiagnoses from mental-health professionals; elderly parents suffering from severe denial and their own health issues; a tsunami of debt incurred by Duanne's involvement with internet scams; and Duanne’s extraordinary ability to hide his illness and the secret life he lived from friends and family who knew nothing about it for so many for years.

The film ends by recognizing that Duanne’s future is bleak. His psychosis continues to rage as he moves closer to becoming a statistic and an imminent danger to himself and others.

Official Trailer for MADNESS from Sandra Luckow on Vimeo.

My Thoughts on That Way Madness Lies:

I have posted about my husband's struggles with Bipolar. I also suffer from depression and anxiety. The struggles are real and make life difficult. In this film, Sandra shares her families struggle with Duanne's mental illness. The main problem is, Duanne doesn't believe he has one! Obviously, it's impossible to be treated for an illness that you do not accept exists.

The mental health treatment in our country is ridiculous. Did you know that someone can be diagnosed with a mental illness, show that they are exhibiting severe signs, end up in jail and they can NOT force you to take medication if you do not want it? While my husband does not always stay on his medication, he at least acknowledges he has Bipolar and needs them. Duanne doesn't take any medication to treat his mental illness because he doesn't believe he has one. It's heartbreaking to know and watch him suffer on the film and to watch what he does to his family.

Families suffer just as much as the patient does. This film did open lines of communication for my husband and I. It allowed us to discuss his moods and behaviors in a way that was not in an accusing manner. He would ask “Do I act like that?” Or I'd say “you see how he's behaving right now? That's what I mean”.

I highly suggest this film for anyone that has a loved one with a mental illness. It's also great for those that suffer, so they can get an inside look of how they may behave.

The film opens today at the following locations:

  • Cinema Village, 22 East 12th St., New York, NY 10003.
  • Laemmle Theatre, 1332 2nd St., Santa Monica, CA 90401.

To find out more information about this film please visit their:

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