|By Mira Harber
There is no
such thing as ‘objective’ when it comes to viewing a movie, listening to
a concert, or seeing a piece of art - we all bring our own personal experiences
and beliefs with us, whatever we do. K-Pax, the new movie featuring
Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges, is one of those movies that is particularly
effected by our personal beliefs.
diametrically opposed opinions regarding K-Pax, so much so that in some
instances I wondered if the reviewer had seen the same movie I did.
All that said,
K-Pax is the story of a mysterious man Prot (Kevin Spacey) who suddenly
appears in Grand Central Station , amidst a beam of light, attempts to
help a stranger, and ends up in the Manhattan Psychiatric Institute.
the patient of an overworked, spiritually depleted psychiatrist, Dr. Mark
Powell (Jeff Bridges). As we watch their discussions we really wonder ‘Is
Prot who he says he is?’ - an alien from a distant planet K-Pax (just discovered
by a handful of astro-physicists) or is he a deluded, disturbed wanderer?
Prot is not
the menacing, dangerous type of alien “Don’t worry, I’m not going to leap
out of your chest” (obviously he’s seen Alien)- rather he appears
to be the intelligent, detached alien, vaguely bemused by humans, their
habits and ideas.
As we listen
to Prot, and see how he helps the patients in the psychiatric ward of the
hospital, we begin to wonder - would you rather talk to the Doctor or to
Prot? Who seems to have a better connection with the patients? Who has
a better grasp of the universe, in a larger sense, our connections to it,
and each other? Who understands what family is better than Prot, who claims
to come from a planet where there is no such thing as single families?
is so convincingly told in such detail that Dr. Powell really begins to
wonder...could it be possible? After a meeting with some of the world’s
top astro-physicists the Dr. is more, not less confused.
In an attempt
to show him what ‘normal’ is, Prot is invited to the Dr.’s home for
July 4 celebrations. There are both lovely and frightening scenes that
take place during the quintessential American family holiday.
Is Prot who
he says he is? Consider that he can see ultra-violet rays (which humans
cannot), can plot the orbit of K-Pax (just discovered), can tolerate amazing
amounts of Thorazine and then consider the road trip that Dr.Powell takes
to New Mexico to find what could be an entirely human solution to Prot.
Or could it? Or did he just ‘borrow’ a human body?
of the movie appears to be ambiguous - I liked that it didn’t beat us on
the head with “this is what you should think/feel now”. Instead, we come
to our own conclusions.
is wonderful as always, and Jeff Bridges plays the overworked, obssessed
doctor perfectly. The question of what is real, what is fantasy, what could
be real ‘Doctor, I’ll admit I’m human, if you admit I could come from K-Pax’
all make for a movie that gives you plenty to think about days after leaving
the theater. I highly recommend this movie for enquiring minds.