Theatrical Review: The X Files: I Want To Believe

After six years, former FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are brought out of hiding to aid the FBI in a case involving a missing agent. Because of their involvement with the paranormal, their expertise is needed especially seeing that the FBI is using the talents of a psychic in their search. The psychic though is a former catholic priest who’s also a convicted pedophile and his name is Father Joe. There’s something with this guy though, that catches Mulder and commits him to the case. And so while dealing with their own personal issues, Mulder and Scully get involved in something that’s far more than what it appears on it’s surface.

That’s the basic premise of The X Files: I Want To Believe from writer/director and X Files creator Chris Carter, bringing his television creation back to life with it’s second feature film. For a summer filled with some big, explosive stories, The X Files is a little different, offering up an introspective and understated thriller that feels like the old show to some extent.

I thought it was pretty good my own self, though not at all in the same league as other movies that I’ve seen this year, but still fun to see these characters back and with a pretty gruesome crime attached to it. This isn’t anything connected to the series core mythology, other than continuing the relationship that Mulder and Scully had (and I must admit, buy the end of the show’s run, I’d not been paying attention that closely as I just wasn’t as interested any more as I was during it’s prime period- this was one show that went on for maybe two seasons more than it should’ve).

The case itself is pretty interesting, as is the character of Father Joe, but where the film stumbles is in the ping-ponging of the Mulder-Scully relationship, sometimes putting them on the same page and other times acting like they hadn’t had all their familiarity. Now this didn’t really bother me that much as I sorta thought this was part and parcel of the relationship, but then, like I said above, I’d lost some interest by the time the show ended as well, so I might not be the best judge of that.

Of course, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are back (as is a surprise character late in the film) and joining them for this film are Amanda Peet (as the FBI agent who calls them back into service), Billy Connelly as Father Joe, and Battlestar Galactica’s Callum Keith Rennie as one of the suspects, and the cast does a pretty nice job here- there’s really nothing that felt out of place. I give really good marks to both Peet and Connelly, they really got themselves into this well.

Carter certainly seems on the mark as well for this considerably quiet movie. Like I said, it’s quite understated in this summer of gigantic comic book action, so understated that it might seem a disappointment to those expecting something a bigger, but I thought it was a cool change of pace and I certainly enjoyed it. Duchovny is already on the record for wanting to do more films, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them make a few more as well…

If you don’t mind having something smaller in your summer movie repertoire, and your an X Files fan, you might have a pretty good time with this. I wouldn’t exactly urge you to get right out there right now and see it, but if you want to kill some time at the theatre, this isn’t bad, but if the size of our audience was any indication (under 20 people for a 10 P.M. show), more are probably waiting for the DVD release, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing either…

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

27. July 2008 by Darren Goodhart
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