Review: K-Pax

That's one cool dude.

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K-Pax stars Jeff Bridges as Dr. Mark Powell, a mental psychiatrist who takes in a very interesting patient. The opening scene shows a subway, with Kevin Spacey standing in front of godlike rays of light, playing (what might be) an alien called Prot (pronounced Pr-oat). He witnesses someone steal an old woman’s purse, and as he tries to help her up a police officer mistakenly assumes he is the perpetrator, luckily a kind homeless man clears up this suspicion, but Prot’s answers to the officers questions are unusual and cryptic, so he ends up finding himself as Mark’s latest patient, and the story rolls on from there.

The story is interesting to say the least, and it definitely keeps you guessing and thinking right up until the final scene (Tip: There’s a bonus scene after the credits). Mark finds out about who Prot is throughout the film, and also finds out things about his other patients and even himself with the help of Prot, who seems very intelligent and self-aware for someone diagnosed insane. I don’t want to say much more about the story, it’s very hard to explain, and definitely something that can be easily spoiled and you will end up drawing your own conclusions from the film either way, it’s all up to interpretation.

The acting in the film by Kevin Spacey is great, simply put; he plays a very convincing alien, and shows his acting diversity… this is someone who’s played Lex Luthor and Keyser Soze. As for Jeff Bridges, well he plays family man Jeff Bridges, and doesn’t come across as intelligent as a doctor should be, but he fits the role just fine, and it matters little as the main focus is Prot for the most part anyway. Other actors of note are Saul Williams, usually a musician, who plays a great and convincing psychiatric patient alongside Prot, as well as everyone else in the hospital, they are make for a great interesting group of characters. Mark’s wife in the film is played by Mary McCormack, someone I don’t really remember seeing in any film before this, and she seemed to fit her role ok, but I have to say she looked a bit young for Mark/Jeff if you know what I’m saying.

"Would you like a strawberry?"

The films style, shots and sequences are fantastic. Most of this film looked great, and props to the director, Ian Softley, for his excellent choices for shots, use of lighting and sets. I loved the scene where Kevin Spacey eats fruit, specifically the one where he eats a banana without pealing it, in typical alien fashion. Awesome. From the films poster and images I thought it was about a techno musician played by spacey and his manager Jeff Bridges, in terms of character I wouldn’t say I was too far off. Kevin/Prot’s clothes in the film were great, specifically his two coats, a big biker style jacket and a raincoat that’s just a little too small for him, they really added to his character and made him a lot more cool, not to mention the fact he wears sunglasses throughout most of the film, for reasons you’ll find out should you watch.

A few other points: The music. The music consists of plinking pianos for the most part, I’m finding it hard thinking where I’ve heard similar soundtracks before, but I know there are some, maybe ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’? It really suits the mood of the film. The only other thing I should mention that I had issue with was the pacing, it was a little unpredictable and obtrusive getting towards the end of the film, I can’t say I blame them for trying to fit this complex and cryptic story into a wholly watchable 2 hour time frame though. I can’t say I’d enjoy it if it were over 160 minutes.

So yeah, this film rocks. I fully enjoyed it, and love the mysteriousness the story has to it, that keeps you thinking. It’s a somewhat flawed but great film, my favourite kind of film. So I’m going to appropriately give it 9 Kevin Spaceys out of 10. And give it a full recommendation, be it a rent or a buy, it’s a unique film and definitely worth watching.

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