What the mind can believe, it can conceive.
A very true phrase. Apt for people who are extremely talented, successful and the lesser fortunate of the lot-the lunatics. The world they live is strange. Sometimes wonderful in nature, sometimes terrific, as determined by the individual person based on his sufferings. Not only is the creator of these fantasies affected by his creations, it is also the other person with no link to the fantasy, who is dragged into this wonderland.
K-PAX(2001) starring Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges directed by Iain Softley falls in this category. The film is a treat to all, especially the student of psychiatry/psychology and the curious lot. It gives you an interesting picture of what one can achieve, in whatever state one is, provided his mind believes what he says.
A man claiming to be a visitor from an outside planet called K-PAX lands in New York railway station. Arrested on suspicion, he is sent to the psychiatric care, where Dr.Powell(Jeff Bridges in a fantastic role) tries to understand this new challenge. For unlike any of his other patients, Prot, as the man calls himself, is different in every respect. Extremely intelligent, understanding, confident-that is Prot. He sticks to his claim that he is an alien from a far away planet called K-PAX on a tour of the galaxies collecting information for a study.
Though childish at first it seems to Dr.Powell and the hospital, the confident way in which Prot puts his claims, supporting it with facts and figures which would astonish an astronaut makes Dr.Powell hesitate in making fun of him.
What more, Prot sets to cure the other patients in the hospital in his own way and almost manages to do so. He astonishes a group of scientists at the space research center by answering all their queries and shutting them out. His claims of light travel and the mode of life at K-PAX and his various anectodes make the company pinch themselves in disbelief.
As an alternative approach, Dr.Powell invites Prot to his house party and there, the first clue to his illness starts to fall in. From there, it is a race against time as the doctor rushes to save his patient from a certain ominous end, which he sees as a way to end his sufferings. Further by way of hypnosis, Dr.Powell learns of the place where Prot might have lived prior to his illness and does his own research on him-to get a horrifying result.
The performances of the lead actors are a treat to watch. Especially Kevin Spacey(you should watch him as the evil, scheming MickeyRosa in 21). It is indeed a challenging role. The lunatic has been played by many, but not of this calibre. The way he shuffles about the couch mumbling about light travel and his explanations to the scientists and the doctor makes it a repeat watch. Jeff Bridges makes an equal contribution by being no less a competitor to Spacey’s spaceman act.
Fine direction makes this an interesting watch. A mystery, indeed. Especially the climax is a true treat. Don’t miss it.
A scene from the film: