Anthony's Film Review

K-PAX (2001)

An enlightening search for truth, thanks to an intriguing performance by Kevin Spacey...

K-PAX is a fascinating movie. That is the word I would use to describe the dynamics of the plot and characters. It's fascinating to watch events unfold and open more mysteries, forcing you to ride along until you make the final discovery. It's easy to guess what will be found, but it's hard not stay put and believe that you're right. You want to be satisfied about knowing the truth for sure.

The first mystery is in the genre of the movie. Is it purely a human drama? Is there some aspects of science-fiction in it? Well, if you have Kevin Spacey as a man who supposedly appears out of nowhere, maybe from far away, you can't help but ask these questions. Now, if this man were to call himself Prot (pronounced "prote") and claims to be from the planet K-PAX, the next question is whether this is true. To help answer this question is Jeff Bridges as psychiatrist Dr. Mark Powell.

The first scene with Prot and Dr. Powell sets the tone for the movie. The doctor interviews Prot just like any other psychiatric patient. Immediately, Prot is making claims that clearly don't fit reality as we know it, characteristic of delusional and psychotic disorders. But instead of making the diagnosis, Dr. Powell becomes fascinated. For a moment, he puts aside the role of a psychiatrist to be an anthropologist, curiously asking Prot about life and culture on K-PAX.

With Prot telling a convincing story and having an influence on other psychiatric patients, Dr. Powell tries to disprove Prot's claims. He even has Prot meet a group of astrophysicists who ask where K-PAX is. After all, the scientific method involves testing a hypothesis to see if it can be disproven. However, to everyone's surprise, Prot identifies a feasible location for K-PAX, complete with complex calculations. His story has still not been proven false.

Advertisements for this movie give the impression that K-PAX is very uplifting. It is sort of true, maybe for the first half of the movie. Afterwards, it takes a drastic turn. Prot now becomes someone who needs help. Dr. Powell is in his clinical role again to help this patient, whoever he really is. Dr. Powell even goes beyond his job to find the truth. The pacing here plus Spacey's dramatic performance keeps you in place until the mystery is finally solved.

My rating for this movie was originally 6 to 7 stars, but the second half of the film impressed me enough to give it one more.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about K-PAX, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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