K-PAX

Directed by Iain Softley
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack, Alfre Woodard, Saul Williams, David Patrick Kelly.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for a sequence of violent images, and brief language and sensuality.

Review by Eugene Kopman <eugene@filmhead.com>
October 31, 2001

Kevin Spacey plays a spaceman who comes to study Earth in his best performance since American Beauty. Even though K-PAX is not as great as that modern-day classic, one of the best movies of the 1990s, this is a very good film which lets you know that the Oscar season has officially begun.

A bright light shines in the middle of Grand Central Station in New York City, and a mysterious man (Spacey) appears out of this light. The police arrest him because they think he is delusional and transfer him to the Psychiatric Institute of Manhattan, where he meets Dr. Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges). The stranger introduces himself as Prot and claims to be from a planet 1,000 light years away called K-PAX.

Dr. Powell doesn't seem to believe Prot, but doubts himself the longer he talks to him. Being occupied with Prot causes Mark to neglect his family, which makes his wife, Rachel (Mary McCormack), very upset. This works as one of a few subplots.

Another subplot has Prot trying to heal the mentally ill patients, including an obsessive-compulsive named Howie (David Patrick Kelly) and a germ paranoid named Ernie (Saul Williams). Prot also promises to take one person when he goes back to K-PAX.

Mark insists on finding out if Prot is really an alien or not. He has another reason to believe that he is after Prot draws a diagram of his home solar system, something that no Earth astronomer has figured out yet.

Whether Prot is an alien or not is something you have to see and decide for yourself. Both Bridges and Spacey give great performances in an intriguing story and screenplay, but the film dragged a little bit toward the end, which made me lower this rating by half a star. This is Oscar season -- let's get serious.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
K-PAX (2001)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
K-PAX, a novel by Gene Brewer -- Hardcover
K-PAX, a novel by Gene Brewer -- Paperback
K-PAX, a novel by Gene Brewer -- Audio Cassette (read by Tom Casaletto)
K-PAX: Original Motion Picture Score -- Compact Disc


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