Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Meanwhile, back at the funny farm... Was it R D Laing who said that lunatics are closer to reality than so-called sane people? Scriptwriters love this kind of thing.

K-Pax is a planet and Prot comes from there. He may look like Kevin Spacey and speak articulate English, but, in fact, he's a K-Paxian who travels by light - three times the speed of, to be exact - and takes on the characteristics of whatever life form exists in situ. When he ends up in a Manhattan psychiatric hospital, with a bunch of loveable nutters, he's diagnosed as a delusionist and drugged accordingly. Except the drugs don't work.

Copy picture

Enter Dr Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges, at his most laconic), shrink-in-chief, who finds Prot particularly fascinating. He starts to believe him. Their relationship is at the heart of the movie. If Prot is for real and K-Pax does exist, think of what this means.

The question is, "So what?" Even to entertain such a thought means that something isn't working. On K-Pax, they don't have families. Sex is extremely unpleasant. There are no laws and, therefore, no lawyers. "Sometimes it's hard to imagine how you've made it this far," Prot tells Powell and then you realise that this pseudo alien is being used by the filmmakers to lecture Western civilisation on how to live its life. The World According To Prot isn't even funny. It's wise, caring, thoughtful and dull.

Powell is a workaholic, who can't talk to his eldest son and hasn't noticed that his wife is unhappy with the state of their marriage. Prot notices. Is he a messiah, or a trauma victim?

The film is so flat it runs along straight lines. Neither of the star actors, both of whom are capable of bringing dead scripts to life, have the energy to change anything. When the truth comes out and the history of Prot revealed, it doesn't matter. There is nothing left by then, but ragged ends and a great deal of scepticism.

Reviewed on: 03 Apr 2002
Share this with others on...
K-Pax packshot
A psychiatrist takes on a patient whose claim that he is from outer space is surprisingly convincing.
Amazon link

Read more K-Pax reviews:

Stephen Carty *****

Director: Iain Softley

Writer: Charles Leavitt, based on the novel by Gene Brewer

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges, Mary McCormack, Alfre Woodard, David Patrick Kelly, Saul Williams, Peter Gerety, Celia Weston, Ajay Naidu, Tracy Vilar, Melanee Murray

Year: 2001

Runtime: 121 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: USA, Germany


Search database: