K-Pax (2001) – Review

Kevin Spacey stars as alien Prot in K-Pax...

Not often do you come across a film that revolves around an extra-terrestrial without it turning into a science fiction mess comprised with flashing lights and glaring scientific inaccuracies. K-Pax, however, is a change from the norm. Loosely labelled as a science fiction drama, K-Pax stars Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey as two men who come from different worlds, but find comfort in one another when Prot (Spacey) is assigned to a psychiatrist (Bridges) after he claims he comes from a world far away from here called K-Pax.

As the film wears on, Bridges comes to find Prot’s story more and more believable thanks to the convincing performance from Prot. Despite his new-found belief, Bridges still refuses to give up on finding the truth as to who exactly Prot is, and is intent on proving that he is not who he says he is.

Films that revolve around a patient’s relationship to his psychiatrist have often fared well both commercially and financially. Analyse This, Good Will Hunting and Finding Forrester all feature patients with problems and a psychiatrist who eventually benefits more from the consultations than the patient. K-Pax needs strong performances from its two leads and, thankfully, both men deliver on every level. Bridges is perfectly suited to being the psychiatrist unsatisfied with life who wants to discover something new, and Spacey has just enough comic value to make Prot both convincing and sympathetic.

K-Pax does drag on a little longer than needed, especially in the last half an hour of the film, but despite the end result never being in doubt, K-Pax still manages to pull a few surprises out of the hat. K-Pax is high on the sentimental meter thanks to Spacey providing a character that you actually care about. You know he’s probably making it all up about being from another world, but you believe it all the same because it makes the film much more enjoyable.

While not an outstanding movie, K-Pax delivers an important message. The finale poses as a twist ending that isn’t really a twist ending as you’re not sure of what the director wants you to believe. If you believe one side then the ending is normal, if you believe the other then it comes as a total surprise. Prot is delivered to us as an alien, it’s just our choice as to whether or not we can expand our minds and defy logic to believe him.

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