movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
The movie begins at a New York train station as an elderly woman is being mugged. Kevin Spacey is standing there and reaches down to help her up. The police arrive and mistakenly believe he was the one mugging her and they stop and question him. They realize right away that he is a little strange and they send him to Bellevue Hospital.
After a months stay in the mental ward he is transferred to the Psychiatric Institute of Manhattan where Jeff Bridges takes over as his doctor.
Spacey explains to Bridges that he is from the planet K-PAX and as traveled 1000 light years to be here. They talk about Einstein's theories, astronomy and even about sex on K-PAX. He is so convincing that Bridges discusses with a friend of his who just happens to be an astronomer. The astronomer gives Bridges a list of questions to ask Spacey.
Spacey's answers are so brilliant that he is taken to a group of scientists and answers questions they had been searching for a long time.
Bridges takes Spacey to his house for a 4th of July picnic and he meets Bridges' family. He learns of Jeff Bridges son from his first marriage that he is no longer speaking to. Also, we discover that Spacey can communicate with animals and is frightened of water. He also says he needs to go up north for a few days to check out parts of the planet he hasn't seen yet. Sure enough, he turns up missing for a few days.
During all his time in the hospital, Spacey has befriended his fellow patients of the psych ward. They are convinced he is actually an alien from K-PAX. He has explained to them all that on July 27th at 5:51am he will be returning to K-PAX and will take one of them with him.
Bridges realizes that he only has a few weeks to discover the truth about him so he begins hypnotic therapy.
He discover that Spacey once befriended a young kid whose father was dying from working at a meat packing plant. Spacey would visit him every few years, whenever the boy would call him. One day, after his earth friend was married and had a young daughter, he was called again to help him. Spacey starts to freak out as he tells of how his friend was trapped in the current of a river and couldn't be saved. It was unclear what happened but during this session, Spacey dropped a well used pencil.
The pencil had part of a phone number and the letters SALVA on it. Bridges used this information and found a meat packing plant in the same town with a Salvation Army with the same area code. It was a from a small town in New Mexico. Bridges boarded a plane and flew down to investigate further.
He met with the town sheriff and was told the story of Robert Porter whose wife and daughter were killed by a drifter. Porter walked in on him and killed him. Porter's clothes were found by a busy river and it was assumed that since his body was never recovered that he had drowned.
It was now July 26th and the mental patients are having a going away party for Spacey and one of them. They don't know which one he will choose to take with him. Bridges confronts Spacey with a yearbook from the New Mexico high school and shows him a picture of Robert Porter which is obviously a young Spacey. Spacey tells him that the possibility exists that he is Porter, just as it also exists that it isn't. He also tells him that now that he has found Porter, to take care of him. (Huh?)
5:50 arrives and Spacey is sitting up in his bed as the security are watching on camera and the sun is rising. Bridges oversleeps in his office and rushes to get to Spacey's room on time. Just as he gets there, the security camera in Spacey's room goes out. Bridges and the whole mental gang look into Spacey's room and he is gone.
They look under his bed and find a comatose Spacey lying there. The patients agree that it isn't Spacey as he is taken off to get medical help. They then realize that one of the other mental patients is missing. Bess, a girl that never talked and had been a patient there her whole life was nowhere to be found. They all cheered as they realized that Spacey had taken her with him.
The movie ends a few months later as Bridges is pushing the comatose Spacey around in a wheelchair. We hear a voice over of Spacey telling Bridges earlier about how the universe works and we keep repeating the same mistakes over and over so it is important to fix any problems you have in life now. The final scene is Bridges meeting his estranged son at the airport.
After the credits we see a quick clip of Bridges looking up at the stars through a telescope.
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
Here is my take...
Spacey was in fact an alien from K-PAX who took over his friend Robert Porter's body as he lay comatose by the river. At the end of the movie he left Porter's body behind to be cared for by Bridges, and returned to K-PAX in Bess' body.
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