The X-Files: I Want to Believe

    I normally don’t review horror films and I suppose The X-Files falls into that category. Real horror fans, I suspect, would scoff at the designation. Even I didn’t think this was that scary. But if you were a fan of the show, you didn’t watch it to be scared, or at least I didn’t, you watched it because of the interplay between Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). Their easy chemistry is extremely  rare in film and television. It allowed the producers of the show to explore how complex such a relationship can be.
    So my advice is to not come to The X-Files: I Want to Believe for the plot. Down that road lies disappointment and disillusionment. You’re catching up with some old friends you haven’t seen in ten years. They just happen to be consulting with the FBI about a missing agent, with the help of a pedophile ex-priest, who claims to be psychic (Billy Connolly).
     Mulder and Scully live apart, now. The son they had at the end of the series is gone (presumably dead, but with the X-Files you never know) and Mulder is wanted by his former colleagues at the Bureau, so he is in hiding. Scully works at a Catholic hospital now as a surgeon. When agents approach her, looking for Mulder, she is hesitant, thinking it might be a trap. But when they explain what the stakes are and that the charges against Mulder will be dropped if he cooperates, she agrees to contact him.
     Mulder is also reluctant at first, but then his drive and curiosity kick in. He really is a dedicated and talented investigator. But he is also obsessive and this is what Scully fears. When, at one point, it looks obvious that the case has no supernatural elements, Scully strongly encourages Mulder to quit the case. Scully, for her part, is tired of chasing monsters. She wants a normal life and is dismayed to see Mulder get caught up in it again. But her dilemma is that it was Mulder’s drive and dedication that first made her love him, so how can she change him? The chemistry of their relationship binds them together and yet tears them apart at the same time. That’s what this movie is about. Forget the severed limbs and murderous snow plow drivers.
    Needless to say, Duchovny and Anderson are flawless. Billy Connolly is surprisingly creepy as a self loathing ex-priest, who accepts the condemnation of the this world while trying to gain forgiveness inthe next. Amanda Peet and Alvin Joiner, who’s better know as the rapper Xzibit, play cool crisp professional FBI agents perfectly. Chris Carter, who directed the movie and created the show, is very good at casting faces with a sort of carnivalesque grotesqueness that comes in very handy since his villains rarely get a chance to display any kind of motivation or characterization. That’s very much in evidence here.
    If your an X-Files fan, you’ll probably see this movie, no matter what any critic writes. The story is self contained, not part of the show’s complicated mythology, so non-fans could technically see it. But I don’t think they’d like it. The plot is pretty silly, and although they achieve a  moderately creepy atmosphere, it isn’t very scary. As many critics have said The X-Files: I Want to Believe is like a mediocre episode. That’s alright for a fan, but regular people are going to see this and wonder what the fuss was all about.


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