The lunatics are running the asylum in The Ninth Configuration--but are they really lunatics? Is Colonel Kane (Stacy Keach) really a noted psychiatrist assigned to supervise patients in an experimental government clinic or is he really "Killer" Kane, a decorated US Marine who committed atrocities in Vietnam before going insane? These are just some of the puzzles that will eventually be solved in this giddy and often brilliant drama created by William Peter Blatty, who wrote The Exorcist before going on to direct this adaptation of his own novel, Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer... Kane. A satirical study of war's traumatic aftermath, the film uses battle psychosis as the springboard for a delirious and scathingly intelligent human tragedy, laced with some of the wittiest dialogue you're ever likely to hear. The film boasts a veritable menagerie of crazy characters, all brought vividly to life by a stellar supporting cast. One patient is preparing a production of Shakespeare with an all-dog cast. Another is convinced he's Superman and the resident doctor can't seem to find his trousers. But there's a method to this madness and it takes a barroom brawl--one of the most memorable in film history--to provide the harsh slap of reality to Blatty's elaborate group therapy scheme. When the true purpose of The Ninth Configuration is revealed, the film (and particularly the fine performances of Keach and Wilson) offers a depth of compassionate sanity that may well take you completely by surprise. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com [show more]
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William Peter Blatty directs this thriller based on his own novel. Appointed by the Pentagon to work at a remote military psychiatric hospital known as Centre Eighteen, unorthodox psychiatrist Colonel Hudson Kane (Stacy Keach) is faced with a number of patients whose mental breakdowns are seemingly unrelated to their army experiences. Chief among them is astronaut Captain Cutshaw (Scott Wilson) who believes that God is a fraud. Each of Kane's charges are tormented by inner demons, feeling their existence to be without purpose, but he begins to make progress with them all. However, as Kane's patients' condition improves his own mental state begins to deteriorate, with the line between sanity and madness becoming blurred in the process.