A brilliant and unconventional film. As I'm sure many others have said it is very difficult to describe or sum up accurately. It has so many seemingly incongruous elements yet amazingly in the end it ties them all toge...展开ther and packs an emotional punch very few films manage.
Basically it's about how a new lead psychiatrist arrives at an asylum maintained by the military. It is loaded with stunning scenes, images, symbolism, scares and emotionally devastating moments and it leaves me both uplifted and sad yet so intellectually stimulated I want to discuss it because there is a LOT to talk about once it's over.
It also has some brutal violence and the nastiest bar fight ever filmed.
Stacey Keach plays the role of Kane perfectly, he shows no outward humor but is not humorless himself. He is clearly dedicated to helping the inmates in any way he can using every means at his disposal and wisely the character is not played as being detached and totally unemotional. When Kane (Keach) gets annoyed, enthusiastic or is dealing with a difficult issue he doesn't simply deadpan it he communicates what is happening within the character despite the constraints needed for the role. Brilliant work.
Where his treatments lead the inmates (and where it leads Kane himself) is the core of the film and the whole thing is actually about all of us and how we can reconcile faith, science and the horrors of existence. Faith can mean many different things...
There are multiple edits available but the major aspect that changes is related to one brief scene involving a knife and a bit a dialog. It's worth mentioning because it does change the tone for many viewers depending on the version they see.
The Ninth Configuration is a treasure, a sadly overlooked and misunderstood film.