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This review contains spoilers.  If you don't want the movie ruined, don't read any further.

This movie is impossible to talk about without ruining the ending.  At least, I can't figure out how to do it.

Hmm, it just occurred to me that in a way, this Spacey's part in movie is similar to the one he had in The Usual Suspects.  Well, maybe just a bit.  It's basically him talking to someone for a lot of the movie.

90% of the movie supports the storyline that he's psychotic.  But there are a coupla bits that don't make sense.  The big one is the woman who disappeared at the end.  Similarly, the time he disappeared for three days.  But for me the biggest unexplained part was the bit in the planetarium.  There's no way someone could sketch that orbit and throw out those equations in a coupla minutes.  At least, not unless he could have looked it up, which they say couldn't have happened.

At first, the movie looks a bit like Jeff Bridges' earlier movie, Starman.  They even had Kevin Spacey walking a bit funny, as though he still wasn't completely used to his body.  Everything was pointing to Prot telling the truth.  Later were the long hypnosis sessions.  I'm not sure that was a very effective device for giving us the back story.  They dragged a bit, because we were just being told.  Finally, was the detective story, where we find out who he is.

There's also a bit of life in a mental ward to this movie.  I listened to some of the director's commentary and they said they put in a great deal of effort to get the environment correct.  Yet, even though a large part of the movie was spent there, it didn't feel like a loony bin movie.  Somehow, the focus of the movie was squarely on Spacey and Bridges, and this other large section wasn't as compelling as its time on screen would lead one to expect.  The characters and a couple of the plot points were significant, yet they don't stick in your head when you think back on the movie.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Rental.  I want to like this movie.   The acting is top-notch.  They stretch the secret masterfully.  But it stumbles while they're trying to give the payoff.

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Last modified: June 14, 2004
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