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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15%
Worth A Look: 22.5%
Pretty Bad: 15%
Total Crap: 8.75%

4 reviews, 56 user ratings

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by Stephen Groenewegen

3 stars

Kevin Spacey is Prot, a mysterious man who appears from nowhere at New York’s Grand Central Station and claims to be an alien from the planet K-PAX.

The police foist him on the Psychiatric Institute of Manhattan, where Mark Russell (Jeff Bridges), the Chief of Clinical Psychiatry, interviews him. Russell initially dismisses Prot as delusional, but becomes interested when astronomers can verify key facts in his story. Then, Prot’s presence on the psychiatric ward begins to have a restorative effect on other patients (he cures an obsessive-compulsive and coaxes an antisocial woman from her room). When Prot announces a deadline for his return to K-PAX, and offers to take one patient with him, Russell must work fast to unravel his secret.

Gene Brewer’s novel forms the basis for K-PAX, and Charles Leavitt (who also wrote The Mighty) expands the doctor-patient interview format of the book. But K-PAX essentially remains a character study about the interaction between psychiatrist and patient. When it strays into Russell’s home life, with his wife making sad eyes at him for spending so much time away from his family, it’s hard to keep from groaning at the clichés.

Although the story has a science fiction premise, director Iain Softley (The Wings of the Dove) prevents the fantastical elements from overwhelming the human drama. We never even see K-PAX, or anyone or anything that looks remotely non-human, and we’re ultimately left to draw our own conclusions about Prot’s identity. The film doesn’t really have much to say, beyond a New Age-y message about human connection. But Softley gradually builds the mystery of Prot’s past and keeps you intrigued.

Softley also draws excellent contrasting performances from his principals. The distinguishing feature of Spacey’s characterisation of Prot is his alien curiosity: he regards the human world with an alternately quizzical or bemused expression. Bridges suitably underplays the workaholic psychiatrist whose scepticism about Prot is transformed by his obsessive desire to learn more about him.

I found K-PAX compelling, but it has the shrunken scope and ambitions of a telemovie. It’s the sort of small film that might leave you disappointed in a cinema, but quietly elated at finding something decent to watch if you stumbled across it late at night on television.

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originally posted: 02/26/02 19:33:09
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User Comments

1/22/17 viewer Kevin Spacey has great comments on humanity. 5 stars
11/09/13 bored mom He's definitely possessed by an alien entity. Seeing UV light is NOT fucking human. 3 stars
6/29/13 I Have Seen This Film And It Is AWESOME 5 stars
3/09/10 proooot...ops, sorry gee this movie was a real laxative,state of the toilet 1 stars
12/09/09 Bobby Horrible, cheesy 1 stars
6/06/09 Peter Great film, dont think about the acting, think about the questions/facts 5 stars
9/23/06 Charles Tatum Shockingly good thinking man's sci-fi; a true gem 5 stars
7/30/06 Ronin Quite good, but not if you're in some "action" mood 4 stars
10/12/05 Quigley a great film that really makes you think. definitely worth seeing 5 stars
8/01/05 R.W. Welch Has some holes, but manages to hold you most of the time. 3 stars
5/08/05 Bluto Could have been Better with these two leads 3 stars
4/15/05 HL A mediocre Sci-fi film. Spacey worth the watch. 3 stars
12/22/04 sweetgrrl1972 ZZzzzzZZZZzzzzzZZZZZzzzz 1 stars
5/16/04 KRG1 A great film...Acting and story are superb...Novel is great..A must see 5 stars
3/25/04 thejames Spacey is good, bridges blows, movie worth a watch 4 stars
1/24/04 Elena This film was such a great concept but it was only an okay film. 4 stars
6/17/03 Erin I thought it had potential. It was dull. 2 stars
6/03/03 Goofy Maxwell A script that should've been left on the mental ward floor. 2 stars
5/18/03 Mystique good 4 stars
3/21/03 Jack Sommersby Good performances; asinine scripting. 2 stars
3/17/03 Peter This movie was great, and left so many possible interpretations after the ending... 5 stars
2/11/03 Ubu the Ripper Fabulous. Spacey and Bridges are tremendous. Definitely worth a sequel. 5 stars
2/10/03 Pinkline Jones A monumental eye-glazing event. Spacey shines like a black hole 1 stars
2/09/03 Flick Chick very interesting. 4 stars
10/16/02 Alien Very good movie that exposes how psychiatry sucks. 4 stars
7/26/02 Paul Close to what its all about! 4 stars
6/02/02 Chris No masterpiece but a intellgant drama. My friends and I are still discuss the ending. 4 stars
5/21/02 J Its ending was somewhat questionable, over than that it was great. 4 stars
5/14/02 Piz Interesting film that gets a little dopey and trivial at the end. 3 stars
4/30/02 Bookcrazy I really liked this film. 4 stars
4/23/02 Shelley Smith Started off well but after awhile I knew exactly where it was going. Boring! 3 stars
4/18/02 Monday Morning If you liked this, go rent Starman and see J.B. in a terrific film. 4 stars
4/11/02 Natalie Stonecipher K-Pax a planet? Or Martha Stewart - endorsed tampons? 3 stars
4/05/02 Chris K. Hollywood, why can't you make more movies like this? K-PAX, now that's a movie! 5 stars
4/01/02 Film Guy Good First Half but got boring and depressing 3 stars
2/14/02 Adam Bovie Plot = Average+. Kevin Spacey = Fscking Awesome. See it for Kevin's deadpan humor. 4 stars
12/26/01 Roy Smith One Alien Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest - bah humbug! 2 stars
12/03/01 Awsome film, made you think, a good family film. 5 stars
11/19/01 ajay just ok. 3 stars
11/12/01 Matthew Peters An ending that lets you make your own conclusions, or leaves your questions unanswered 4 stars
11/05/01 Will nifty use of light. ending tries to be ambiguous but fails at that, IMHO 4 stars
11/04/01 poetchuck Good guessing until almost the end 4 stars
11/04/01 Gil Carlson Just Average (disappointing so) 3 stars
11/02/01 Bob Robertson The first half was funny, but it got depressing and was too long. 3 stars
11/02/01 Kevin Kraus Plagiarism, a rip off of Subiela's 1986 film, "Man Facing Southeast". 3 stars
10/31/01 K-PAXIAN Hated it 1 stars
10/30/01 silent great acting & wonderfully shot. some of you need to learn to watch for more than plot. 4 stars
10/30/01 Bud Spacey & Bridges were great, you will talk about this one, you will think about this one. 5 stars
10/29/01 Thor-Leo Go see "Happy Accidents" instead 2 stars
10/29/01 gromm If you like your movies to be made all nice and neat with no mystery left, avoid this. 4 stars
10/29/01 spaceworm Subtle Jeff, as usual, is the movie's key strength. Mr. Underrated... 4 stars
10/27/01 Thai Not Bad but not good 3 stars
10/27/01 Jeff Rigoni Kevin Spacey===POMPOUS ANAL PUNISHER. I'd rather fist my dog than watch K PAX again. UGHHH 1 stars
10/18/01 Greyjack Two words: "Ham" and "fisted". Put a hyphen in the middle. Ah well, at least had OK acting. 2 stars
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  26-Oct-2001 (R)



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