Kevin Spacey has proven himself to be one of our generation’s best actors in a series of disparate roles from the tough negotiator opposite Samuel L. Jackson, to a Southern gentleman in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, or even the relatively puny role of the dying scientist in Outbreak. However, it seems he’s finally found his niche by portraying contemptuous, sarcastic, dim-witted, middle-aged men who have lost their lust for life. Just think of Lester in American Beauty; Quoyle in The Shipping News; or Eugene in Pay It Forward. He’s played the same role so often he can dial in his performance if he so wishes. Thankfully, K-Pax represents a breath of fresh air as Spacey takes a turn at the other end of the spectrum with Prot, an optimistic, self-assured, intelligent, middle-aged man who thinks he’s actually an alien. How’s that for being totally contrary to his norm?
David Mamet is considered to be one of America’s greatest contemporary playwrights. There’s no denying that but as a film maker/ scriptwriter he has considerably less sheen. With, Heist, Mamet is blessed with the best cast he’s ever had the opportunity to work with. Certainly, any filmmaker would likely count his blessings to have two time Academy award winner, Gene Hackman as your lead but the supporting cast made up of Delroy Lindo and Danny DeVito certainly don’t hurt either in terms of box office power.