K-Pax

Man or Alien? Enjoyable Either Way.

Main Cast: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack

Director: Iain Softley

A very good drama that very carefully balances both possibilities with consummate skill, K-PAX gives you something to think about when the screen fades to black.

The story is easy enough to summarize: A man (Spacey) who calls himself “Prot” is found wandering and brought to the Psychiatric Institute of Manhattan for evaluation when he claims to come from another planet. Dr. Powell (Bridges), a weary psychiatrist, takes over the case and finds himself almost believing the man’s story.

There are certainly scenes in the movie that raise questions, such as Prot’s addressing the astronomers, his uncanny ability to understand a dog, and his performance under hypnosis. Of course, all these (and other things) have more mundane explanations, and later in the film Dr. Powell perhaps finds where and why Prot came to be… if he weren’t from outer space.

Spacey and Bridges play their roles to perfection. I particularly liked one line of Prot’s, at the beginning, taking a gentle dig at other sci-fi films: “K-PAX is a planet, but don’t worry- I’m not going to leap out of your chest.” The Christ analogy is there, but subtle, especially when he helps the other inmates of the institute, and the aforementioned “addressing the elders at the temple” (in this case, an observatory).

All in all I very much enjoyed this movie. The ending kept to the enigmatic tone of the whole, and you can have fun trying to decide for yourself which of the two Prot may be. This one is definitely worth your time.

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