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It never ceases to amaze me how movies like this get made.
No car crashes, no explosions, no pyrotechnical performances with people screaming at each other or themes/bravura megalomaniacal rants that self-consciously have "Please nominate me for an Oscar" whispering in the Academy's ear.
No, instead we're given a quiet, enormously fascinating, compassionate, well-intentioned film that sits back and realizes that above beautiful cinematography (Which it has in spades), before performances which nail you to your seat (Which it carries in abundance), the most important thing of all is story. And K-Pax despite all "common sense" in Hollywood, throws out every safe-bet to get a movie produced and gives us just that. Wonderful story. Marvelous story.
I don't need to talk about that. Everyone from the science fiction fans (Who appreciated the depth and seriousness of the subject matter) to the warm n' fuzzy brigade (Who "Get the message" of the movie) have done their part to praise the various facets of a film that refuses to be categorized and is simply a very, very good story.
And perhaps because of that, because no one knows precisely what it is, just that's it's wonderful--Not unlike Prot himself--the people who came to this picture and created it have made a film that doesn't slant itself one way or the other but does a wonderful job of juggling seemingly disparate elements--the science, the drama, the message,the psychological aspects--and approach the movie fresh-eyed and innocent. The cinematography is, at times, simply beautiful and inspiring. And Iain Softley obviously had an enormous respect for the material because when it came time to tell the stories and let it speak through the actors, he pulled back, kept it simple and left the audience to witness to incredible performances by Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey to leave viewers with the same feeling; the acting is beautiful and inspiring.
Kevin Spacey's "Prot" is a wonderfully understated character with the gentle, knowing presence of an outsider who understands. It is his very calmness and seeming omnipotence that make his emotional outbursts, when they come, that much more intense and painful for audiences. He brings to the story the delicate sense of ironic humanity that comes from someone who may not actually lay claim to being human.
Jeff Bridges provides the warm, tired, cynical but still hopeful center of the film that provides reality to Spacey's quiet otherworldliness. Jeff Bridges is the much needed Everyman of this movie who is like so many of us out there; intelligent, wanting to do the right thing, essentially a good person at heart who is perhaps little lost and a LOT tired of the shackling nature of every day life in a first world nation. He asks the hard questions, he clings to his perceived reality. But he also wants to help. And all he's looking for is an excuse, some kind of spark to ignite his hope.
I suspect that K-Pax is going to occupy the same space in most people's hearts as that of a good book. I can't see it raking in buzillions of dollars, despite the fact that far, FAR less worthy films do that every summer. Instead, it will carry along, fondly or even maniacally supported by lovers of the film by word of mouth, quietly finding a new audience and making change where ever it goes. It's a gentle, engaging, quiet film that punches viewers between the eyes not through editing, action or shouting, but through that most basic and often forgotten art of cinema, finding a strong story and just letting it tell itself.
K-Pax is a very intriguing film. Is Prot (Kevin Spacey) really an alien, or
is he a mentally deranged human who just thinks he is an alien? That is the
question that Dr. Powell (Jeff Bridges) must answer before the self
proclaimed deadline that Prot sets for his departure from
As the film unfolds and more evidence is uncovered, both theories grow in credibility. His ability to map from memory the area of the galaxy where his home planet is located indicates a knowledge that no human could possibly possess. Yet the hypnosis sessions lead us to a real person with a very real and traumatic life, filled with devastating events that could have caused such a personality aberration. The ending seems to give the answer, but is just ambiguous enough to make you wonder if you really know. Normally, I don't like lady or tiger endings, but this one is tantalizing. I have my own theory that fits all the clues, but I don't know that my theory is any more correct than anyone else's.
Director Iain Softley (`Wings of the Dove') spins the tale delicately, with great skill. This is a rare example of the director staying in the shadows and inducing outstanding acting performances out of talented actors to let the story dominate. This is not to say that the directing is technically inferior, because it is excellent. However, Softley remains unobtrusive, delivering great power through the use of subtlety, a pleasant change from today's vanguard directors who visually grab and shake the viewer as if to scream, `Look how brilliant I am!'
Kevin Spacey once again delivers a marvelous performance as Prot. This is a part that is extraordinarily demanding, requiring Spacey to render the cool and logical Prot one minute, and then switch gears to conjure his tormented alter ego under hypnosis the next. Spacey is so believable as both alien and human, it makes the viewer's task that much more difficult. Jeff Bridges is also terrific as the relentless psychologist who becomes obsessed with learning the truth about Prot.
This is inspired storytelling for the thoughtful viewer. I rated it a 9/10. If you must have closure at the end of a film, this movie will be very frustrating. However, if you like a fascinating mystery that keeps you thinking long after the credits, you won't be disappointed.
Life is comprised of infinite possibilities; some known, others a mystery
and destined to remain so. And what of the vast unknown, the realms beyond
which knowledge has no established boundaries or parameters? Who is to say
what exists or what is possible? Valid questions, all of which are raised
and explored in the story of a particular individual's personal journey, a
strange and dramatic odyssey that defies facts and logic, in `K-PAX,'
directed by Iain Softley, and starring Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges. In
the wake of an incident in New York's Central Station, a man named Prot
(Spacey) is transported to a psychiatric hospital in Manhattan, where he is
delivered into the care of Dr. Mark Powell (Bridges), who attempts to
uncover the truth about his patient, who claims to be from the distant
planet K-PAX. It quickly becomes a challenge for Dr. Powell, as Prot, with
his calm, direct, forthcoming manner and a propensity for produce (he eats
bananas peels and all, and Red Delicious Apples are his favorites) is quite
convincing. But it's Powell's job, as well as his nature, to be skeptical.
Prot's claims, however, remain intact and stand up even under the most
intense probing and the watchful eye of Dr. Powell, who finds himself in
something of a quandary-- Prot even tells him the exact date and time that
he will depart for K-PAX, a scheduled return trip that allows Powell but a
short time to sort it all out. And Powell just can't seem to get his mind
around the idea that he is dealing with a real alien being; and it's
something he is going to have to resolve quickly, if he is ever going to
know the truth. And he has to know. The truth, after all, is the only
thing that is going to set him free in his own mind.
Softley has created and delivered a sensitive, thought-provoking film that challenges the viewer by sustaining the mystery surrounding Prot while forcing you to reflect upon your own concepts of what is, in fact, possible. And as you never know for sure about Prot until the denouement, you are able to identify with Powell, seeing the situation from his point of view and trying to solve the riddle right along with him. Softley creates an atmosphere of wonder and a real sense of being confronted with something that is truly unique as the story unfolds and you begin to realize that Prot just may be what he says he is. And in the context of the reality to which the film is disposed, it's an engrossing matter to try to wrap your mind around. How do you react when all of the evidence is contrary to the physical limitations we've set for ourselves? While at the heart of the film there is a resounding depth of humanity that is evident, not only in Prot, but in Dr. Powell, as well. All of which makes for an extremely engaging and gripping drama.
As we've come to expect, Kevin Spacey gives a brilliant performance as Prot, presenting his character from the inside out, emotionally deep and physically convincing at the same time. This is a unique individual, and Spacey brings him to life with care and the ability to share those moments that are particularly revealing, which adds to the believability of the character and the credibility of the story itself. For this film to work, it is essential that we believe who and what Prot is; we do, and it does. Spacey simply pulls it off magnificently. It's a memorable performance, from which evolves a character that will stay with you for a long, long time.
Jeff Bridges, meanwhile, emerges on equal footing with Spacey, adeptly making a very real person of Dr. Powell. It's a fairly straightforward role, and the challenge for Bridges was to take this very normal and ordinary character and make him unique in his own right, which, opposite the character of Prot was no small task. And, again, for this film to work it was necessary for Bridges to rise to the occasion. And, with exceptional skill and being the consummate professional that he is, he succeeds without question. Bridges infuses Powell with an underlying complexity, and is so giving in his performance, that it makes the interaction between Powell and Prot vibrant, and at times intense. It's a demonstration of two of the finest actors in the business doing what they do best, creating a dynamic that is alive and inspiring. It's a great job by Bridges, who never attempts to steal the spotlight from Prot, which serves to raise the level of the film to an even higher notch.
The supporting cast includes Mary McCormack (Rachel), Alfre Woodard (Dr. Villers), Ajay Naidu (Dr. Naidiu), Vincent Laresca (Navarro), Kimberly Scott (Joyce), Conchata Ferrell (Betty) and Saul Williams (Ernie). An entertaining, emotionally involving film, `K-PAX' is a dissertation on possibilities, as well as an examination of the ever evolving complexities of the human condition. It's a film that demands an open mind and rewards those who are able to approach it on it's own terms and embrace it. In the end, it makes you realize just how real K-PAX is; and it makes you appreciate Prot's journey, and just how much we all share and have in common with those around us, human or alien. And it may just make you reflect upon your own journey-- where you've been and where you're going. And that's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 10/10.
Due to a very misleading advertising campaign, I saw this film in
theatres at the relatively young age of 10. The trailers on TV
portrayed the film as a comedy, and I bugged my parents until they took
me. After seeing the movie, I was blown away. I had no idea what to
think. Totally different than anything I had seen before, leaving far
to many questions for such a young mind. Needless to say, I loved it.
This morning was the first time I'd watched in in probably 2-3 years,
and I still think it's one of the greatest films made in the last
decade. Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges are both in top form, as a
mysterious man who may or may not be from another planet, and the
psychiatrist that develops a bond with him while trying to decipher his
mystery. The supporting cast are near perfect as well, each resident of
the mental institution is incredibly convincing in their own way. The
open ending was handled very well, giving lots of evidence to support
whatever you believe happened in the end. How this movie failed to
receive at least a nomination in that year's Oscars is beyond me. If
you haven't seen this film, run to Wal-Mart RIGHT NOW. The DVD is
usually in the bargain bin, pick it up!
K-PAX is exactly what a heart warming film should be. The story is about a mysterious mental patient Prot, played by Kevin Spacey, and his unbelieving psychiatrist Dr. Powel, played by Jeff Bridges. The two have a very friendly bond, and as their relationship grows Dr. Powel can't help but wonder whether or not there is more to his mysterious patient, who insists he is from another planet called K-PAX. This film is very funny, and Kevin Spacey pulls of well placed one liners as if it was his second nature. K-PAX is a smart film, and I wasn't expecting it to go where it did. In the end, I found myself thinking about the small things in life, and the wonder and magic of the every day life we so often take for granted. I left the theater with a warm fuzzy feeling inside, and for families and couples on a date, K-PAX is a splendid film, that will not disappoint. I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in something more than the monotonous releases of glossy, action packed, gore fests.
This film IS brilliant...... without a doubt. Watched it a while ago
after constant pestering from family members who are right into their
sci-fi films (which I am not), and thought it was quite good. But after
recently watching a few documentaries on outer-space etc we watched it
again... and it IS good.
Kevin Spacey is without doubt one of the greatest actors ever and I really like Jeff Bridges (Big Lewbowski, Blown Away, Arlington Road). The film revolves around a patient in a nursing home who claims he is from another planet. Yeah right, you think... but what if his story is so believable that even his psychiatrist begins to wonder if he is telling the truth.
That is how the story evolves with Bridges going through all kinds of emotions dealing with Prot (as he is known), his own psychiatric colleagues, his wife and family, his brother-in-law and his cosmologist astronomer work colleagues (who after getting some data from Prot, pretty much admit that he might be telling the truth!) A great film... that get's you wondering.....
Personally, I think Kevin Spacey is one of the greatest actors of his
generation, maybe the greatest. This in combination with another
amazing actor named Jeff Bridges, it can't be bad. And that's exactly
what this movie is! "K-PAX" is one of the most pleasant surprises of
the latest years. To start with has the movie a brilliantly written
story. It's part of what makes the movie so great. The other aspect
that contributes to the greatness of the movie is the acting. The
combination Spacey-Bridges really works.
This was already the second time I saw the movie and I'm sure it won't be the last time. "K-PAX" has everything. There are moments which are extremely funny, parts that remind of a true thriller and others which reminds of high-class drama. I think this movie deserves a much higher rating and a lot more awards. Great movie!
Usually I do not like movies with/about aliens but K-PAX is different. The actors are great in the movie - especially Kevin Spacey played his character breathtaking! The movie never fall to a lower level - the suspense is always in the movie and you absolutely wanna know how it ends, what's about Prot... You have to think a lot after the movie over the movie because there are a few open questions... Is Robert Porter Prot or is Prot only using Robert Porters body as a means of transportation. How can he see uv-light and how can he know that much about astrology. But everybody can make his own end and can decide in what he wanna believe. Very good movie with an excellent Kevin Spacey!
One of the best movies ever, the idea of a double interpretation
involves we all.
Would be Prot a schizophrenic or an E.T? (No doubt in my opinion, but let's keep the question open...). Kevin Spacey, the big screen monster, plays Prot as it should be done. Let's not forget Jeff Bridges and his great psychiatric.
Lastly, a masterpiece that speakes for itself. Can keep our eyes wide open from the beginning to the credits and our minds thinking even when the movie is over. If you still didn't watch it, go right now! And again, again...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm a fan of Jeff Bridges so I snapped this up on DVD without having
seen it previously. I instantly became a fan of Kevin Spacey, also.
The general plot of "alien in human body" has, in my experience, been done to death, but I liked the approach taken in K-PAX, which struck me as quite different and much more sensitive than most. Bridges makes an excellent doctor (you *want* to tell him what's on your mind) and Spacey's expressions and gestures are perfect in the role.
The interaction between Prot and the entirely human characters in the clinic is delightful, particularly the subtle manipulation of their behaviour.
The ending is bittersweet - I like Prot's choice, but the final scenes (with Bridges) made me teary.
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