K-PAX

Movie Review by Dr Kuma

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack, Alfre Woodard
Director: Iain Softley

The film tells the story of a mysterious patient (Kevin Spacey) institutionalised into a mental hospital who claims to be from a distant planet called K-PAX. As his psychiatrist (Jeff Bridges) tries to figure out exactly how to help the patient, he gradually begins to realize that this so-called alien is having a remarkable effect on the mental health of the hospital’s other patients; in other words ET meets ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST.

The films opening few minutes are beautifully done, a treat both visually and musically which sets the tone for the very adult approach to the old spaceship wrecked alien on his own on a distant world scenario. The casting is perfect. Kevin Spacey really underplays the role of Prot, the visitor. In a very clever piece of casting, Jeff Bridges plays the psychiatrist who uncharacteristically falls for his new patient’s story. The casting is clever when you think that Bridges played virtually the same role as Spacey in John Carpenter’s STARMAN.

As mentioned the film is beautifully composed and uses its constant reference to lighting to its advantage (according to Prot, space travel depends on light refraction).

Although the movie does sometimes stray into pastiche (man has a lot to learn, is not ready for the technology the aliens possess etc) the performances of all concerned, even the smaller characters of the interns, help carry this movie through it’s duration.

K-PAX is an intelligent science fiction movie that concentrates on humanity rather than the visitors. The role of Kevin Spacey is to introduce the differant characters to us and, in the case of the schizophrenics, to themselves. It also makes us take a long look at ourselves too.

K-PAX is a movie with a higher intelligence.

4 out of 6 stars

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