The X-Files: I Want To Believe (2008)

Six years on from the television series’ finale, and ten years on from original movie Fight The Future, The X-Files: I Want To Believe lures a bearded Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and soon-reluctant Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) out of retirement with a fresh mystery: who has been abducting women and hiding their severed heads in the ice? Recruited as advisors by the FBI, the only lead they have to go on are the dubious visions of a disgraced priest (Billy Connolly), kick-starting the franchises well-worn character dynamic back into action. With Scully now preoccupied with a terminally ill patient who is playing havoc with her faith, Mulder is left to investigate alone leading to his eventual capture – leaving Scully with no choice but to recruit an old colleague (Mitch Pileggi) and mount a rescue attempt of her own.

The X Files: I Want To Believe is not an easy film to like. I left the theatre disappointed, frustrated by its distance from the television series and refusal to pick up any of the million threads left hanging at the end of the characteristically bonkers final episode. However as I walked home the movie grew on me,an impression made. During the film I was never bored, it was a slow paced movie in a summer of actioners, or superhero movies yet it held its own. The X Files was never a fast paced show, it took nine years to create its universe and find something resembling closure for its character and both are nevertheless further developed here. It was a pleasure to watch two people- with more chemistry than any other couple this summer (with the exception of Indiana Jones and Marion Ravenwood, perhaps – but that’s just me) struggle with their own personal faith – and that of each other. This is a movie that deserves repeated viewings, it deserves an open mind. It deserves a third instalment, at the very least to shed some light on the supposed alien invasion planned for 2012. Whatever the future holds all that really matters is that we have another hour and a half of Mulder and Scully, some pleasingly character driven dialogue and a movie that takes its time to tell a story without CGI, hype and big names but with more heart than has been witnessed so far this summer.

Catching it again on television, I was surprised at how entertaining I found it a second time around. The agents in charge (Amanda Peet and Alvin “Xzibit” Joiner) once again fail to impress, and the monster-of-the-week is still bonkers even by the series’ high standards, but there’s no way they could ever compete with two bona fide science fiction icons and a franchise now out of water in the significantly less paranoid noughties. The film’s strengths are hard to overlook, however, with a genuinely creepy turn from Billy Connely consistently stealing the show. Furthermore, director Chris Carter has always been a better director than he is a writer; while the plot may lag at times and some scenes might appear slightly underwritten, the film is never short of beautiful to hold. As was the case with the undeniably superior Fight The Future, Duchovny and Anderson command the big screen beautifully – as engaging in cinemas as they were on the small screen.

Lost in a sea of Iron Men and Dark Knights, The X-Files: I Want to Believe may take its time – but this is to be encouraged rather than derided. Instead of wall-to-wall action and music-video editing, the film tells its story with patience and heart – defying expectations with a delightfully low-key meditation on the difference between faith and obsession.


About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to The X-Files: I Want To Believe (2008)

  1. Pingback: January 2011 – It’s on like Donkey Kong « popcornaddict

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