Science fiction and fantasy                                            


directed by Iain Softley

K-Pax poster  
Kevin Spacey plays a man who claims to be an alien called Prot, from the planet K-Pax. He's very convincing - is he a delusional madman, or the real thing? Jeff Bridges is the psychiatrist who has to find out the truth about this man, a man who apparently has no past.

It hardly seems to be a plot that will last the entire length of the film without running out of steam. But Spacey's acting is captivating. He was probably the most expensive thing in this movie. It's science fiction with no special effects, and indeed very little science. Don't expect to be wowed in typical Hollywood fashion by aliens, distant planets, or any of the usual sci-fi razamatazz.

Nevertheless this is an involving film, and quite moving in parts. The other inhabitants of the mental ward become very excited about the alien in their midst. They all want to be the one to go to K-Pax with Prot, and they are very much taken in by his story.

The film moves quite slowly, and after a while the is-he isn't-he question gets a little tedious. We see a lot of the inside of a mental ward, it's that sort of movie. It's intended to make you think rather than wow you with fantastic visions. Unfortunately it doesn't really succeed in this either, the situation is too unlikely to take seriously. The message seemed to be that some people will believe anything, which is hardly a revelation.

The ending was disappointing. The whole film builds up to finding out the truth about K-Pax. After such a long build-up it deserves an astonishing finish, but the conclusion has far less impact than it needs.

Film Details

Year: 2001

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 12

If you like this, try:

A Scanner Darkly cover    

A Scanner Darkly by Richard Linklater
This adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel depicts a man struggling with madness, paranoia and addiction in a near-future dystopia.

2 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Iain Softley


Mick     24th August, 2005 01:18am

I'm really not sure what to make of the film -- Do they want us to believe this is an alien or stick with our disbelief that theres no such thing and that he is really a man disturbed by the murder of his family - I am really in two minds and would like to know other views before I make my mind up