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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

K-PAX (2001)



Reviews and Comments

A man arrives at a train station, surrounded by a beam of light. He makes a comment about it being bright on this planet, and so he is arrested by the New York police on the scene. This didn't quite ring right with me. This is New York City we are talking about. People claiming to be from outer space is hardly out of the ordinary.

But from that point, K-PAX becomes quite an engaging story. The man (Kevin Spacey) is transferred to a mental hospital, where a psychiatrist (Jeff Bridges) tries to treat him. He is the most convincing delusional he has ever seen, so he says, and indeed, we are convinced from from the outset. The first hour of the film is fun, as Spacey's character demonstrates one thing after another to astonished doctors and scientists that would seem to prove that he really is an alien. It's fun because we're ahead of them, and we get to watch these accomplished academics working their way to where we really are.

The second hour throws a loop or two at us without necessarily pulling the rug out from under us. There's a promising trail of clues that turns up and some powerfully dramatic turns. I admired the way the film provides explanations without necessarily providing answers. It makes for a satisfying ending without depriving us of our food for thought.