K-PAX

Rating: 12; Stars: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges; Director: Iain Softley. 2hrs

 

K-Pax is the bizarre story of ‘Prot’, a man claiming to be visiting earth from the planet ‘K-Pax, near the constellation Lyra’. Prot is housed in a psychiatric hospital to be treated by Dr Powell for his apparent delusional nature. The psychiatrist is initially a sceptic until Prot begins helping the other patients, then impresses astronomers with his knowledge of the planetary system around the area in which ‘his home planet’ would be situated. Oh, yes, and his visual system can detect ultraviolet light. Coincidence? Hmm.

The film can be tediously slow-moving throughout the first half and, compared to the book the film is adapted from, the background character depth is severely lacking. However, parts of the tale are moving, much is funny and Kevin Spacey is in his element playing the calm and collected extraterrestrial. Jeff Bridges’ character is well-developed and the changes throughout his encounters with Prot bring home the issues facing real-life psychiatrists with patients such as Prot. The film is shot beautifully; focusing on the effects of light on perception of scenes. This is emphasised in very clever reference to the importance of light in the film story (due to Prot’s claims to travel by harnessing the energies of light rather like a prism).

Most memorable moment would be Spacey eating a banana whole, with skin, without any sign of the intense nausea he must have been feeling.

K-PAX is settled awkwardly between re-hashed sci-fi and clichéd tragic drama - yet it works. It creates an original movie which may not be action packed and thrilling but definitely reserves a place in movie-goer hearts and minds.

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