Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

This is a good movie. Really, it is. Chris Carter’s ‘The X-Files: I Want to Believe’ is well acted, taut, tragic, emotional and all sorts of other good movie adjectives I can’t think of right now, so why does it seem like such a disappointment? I was never a huge fan of the show, but I did watch it regularly during its seven or eight year run so I have a fairly solid foundation on what the show is supposed to be about. Considering the show’s been off the air for however many years, and this is more my problem than the movies problem, but I was just expecting something… more.

On a cold snowy night in what looks like sub-Antarctica, but instead I guess is somewhere in Minnesota, a woman parks her car in her garage, oblivious to her dog in the house going freaking nuts, and is attacked by two men. Why and where she was taken is a mystery, but defrocked pedophile priest Joseph Chrissman (Billy Connolly) has had a vision of her abduction and has guided a team of FBI agents to frozen area outside this woman’s home where they find a rather grim discovery.

Meanwhile Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) has long left the FBI behind and is working diligently as a medical doctor in a Catholic hospital attempting desperately to find a cure for a young patient of hers when she gets a un-welcomed visit from FBI agent Mosley Drummy (Alvin ‘Xzibit’ Joiner) who simply wants to know where Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) happens to be. As it turns out, this woman who was abducted was also an FBI agent, and the Agent in charge of a case, Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet), smells an X-file in her midst and knows that the cast off, disgraced and unwanted Fox Mulder is the one man who can hopefully save this missing agents life.

Sure enough, since Scully is the only person on the planet with access to Mulder, she convinces him to come out of his isolation, with the promise of complete exoneration from the Feds if he assists in this investigation. Though reluctant at first, soon Fox has

that old alien hunting feeling again and tosses himself completely into the case, much to Scully’s dismay as the old friends have now become lovers in someway. The key to the missing agent, as well as another woman who will come up missing, is Father Joe and his visions. Agent Drummy, similar to the former Agent Scully back in the day, thinks it’s all a bunch of bunk, with Dana in particular having overwhelming feelings of disgust towards the pedophile priest while Fox, along with the earnest Agent Whitney just wants to believe that he’s telling the truth. Though wanting to believe is cool and all, what they really need to do is buckle down and do some old fashioned police work and find these clowns snatching up these women because they are up to some stuff eriously warped . For real.

There’s really nothing particularly wrong with ‘The X-Files: I Want to Believe’ for as I said earlier it’s fine entertainment from start to finish. Dana and Fox are kind of like old friends now and it’s good to see what they’ve been up to these past years and obviously Anderson and Duchovny are more than comfortable in playing these characters they’ve presented to us in numerous television episodes and now a couple of movies. Carter’s direction is reasonably tight, the look of the film is dark and ominous, the narrative is fairly lean without a lot of superfluous fluff and the pacing of the film just feels right. So what’s the problem?

I had heard before seeing this movie that this a film that only fans would appreciate, but I think I disagree with that as this film seemed far more accessible than most of the X-Files episodes I’ve seen, and certainly more so than the first film. The case that Scully and Mulder were investigating was really barely an X-File as this film was more ‘Thriller’, ala ‘Se7en’ or ‘Silence of the Lambs’ than a spooky Sci-Fi yarn. I honestly don’t think that anybody really needs any familiarity with the show at all to just step in an watch this movie, and to that end I would think that people who have little or no knowledge of the ‘X-Files’ universe, who enter the movie without the added weight of expectation, might enjoy the movie more than the rabid fans of the show. It just seems to me that having been away for so long and given the opportunity to make a new ‘X-Files’ movie that Carter and company would have gone really big, especially releasing this film in the summer of ‘The Dark Knight’.

As far as I’m concerned, whether or not there is a problem with this new ‘X-Files’ movie at all is completely debatable. I did manage to enjoy it for what it was which was a very competent, effective thriller. I’ll admit there’s nothing overly ‘cinematic’ about this movie in the sense that I easily could have waited for this to come out on DVD in a couple of months, or Carter could have easily made this a special television episodic event, but nonetheless ‘The X-Files: I Want To Believe’ is a very entertaining film. Just probably not much of an ‘X-File’.

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