After appearing from seemingly nowhere and informing authorities he is from the planet K-Pax, here in earth on an investigative mission, Prot (Kevin Spacey) is somewhat understandably remanded in psychiatric care. This is where he meets Dr Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges).
Prot is open and disarming. He doesn’t skimp on ‘facts’ about his alien home planet nor his reasons for being on this planet. He even gives Dr Powell a departure date for his return to K-Pax, a date rapidly approaching.
As time goes on Powell meets with Prot regularly. He believes that the entire situation is an elaborate put on, and is always poking and probing to catch Prot in a lie or a trap of logic. Despite these constant attempts to derail his story Prot is not perturbed, in fact he opens up further, submitting to hypnosis and complex questions about the solar system from where he is alleged to have arrived. It is when he starts passing the tests with ease that Powell starts taking things more seriously, especially as the ‘exit date’ nears.
K-Pax was apparently slated with Will Smith playing the role of Prot and Spacey as the shrink. While I can see Spacey doing justice to bridges’ role I think the Smith hire would send the film in an entirely different – schmaltzy – direction. Sure in the finished version Prot changes lives and forces people to look at their own lives, I am just positive though that Smith would have forced the ’emotional’ dial beyond eleven and tried to make every scene an ‘ET touches’ type moment.
This film is a decent drama with some effective scenes and yes, some emotional moments that will leave you thinking. While it never really grabs you or hits home, this version of K-Pax is quite serviceable, and I remain sure that it trumps whatever Will Smith might have excreted. I am equally confident that it grossed two hundred million less than that film would have…
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Your typical ‘is he an alien or is he just nuts?’ adult drama, that will neither offend nor change one’s life by watching.