The X-Files: I Want to Believe
“The X-Files: I Want to Believe” is a box office bust. That isn’t too surprising considering “The X-Files” television series went off the air six years ago and was never a major hit to begin with.
The film that will apparently conclude the “X-Files” saga is actually pretty decent, though. It is a purposeful, well-paced thriller. And it is perfectly entertaining even for those of us who don’t know anything about the TV show.
The plot finds former FBI agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) helping the Bureau track down some missing women who are thought to be kidnapped. The only lead has come courtesy of a disgraced priest (Billy Connolly) who is using what he claims are psychic powers to uncover clues.
Mulder has to decide whether the clergyman is the clairvoyant key to the case or a terrible charlatan.
Meanwhile, Mulder’s former partner/current girlfriend Dr. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) has a young patient with a rare terminal disease. She has to decide whether to put the boy through a painful experimental treatment or to simply let him die.
“I Want to Believe,” as the title suggests, is about the transformative power of belief. All three lead characters are driven by faith to perform heroic acts – even when they are difficult and unpopular.
The film argues that the world is filled with soul-crushing sorrow that can quash the human spirit. It is the hopefulness of faith, be it in God or the supernatural, that pushes depressed people to move forward with their lives – away from their pain and toward something positive.
“I Want to Believe” stands out from other summer event movies because it feels like it takes place in the real world. There are no computer generated special effects, there aren’t bullets flying all over the place, and the high speed car chases are appropriately dangerous and brief.
Plus, the bad guys aren’t brilliant super villains. They don’t have any ridiculous scheme to take over the world and they don’t leave diabolical notes to taunt the authorities. The villains are basically normal people living among us. That makes their crimes feel all the more realistic, ghastly and upsetting.
I found the mystery of the missing women quite gripping. The plot unfolds at a brisk pace and writer/director Chris Carter builds tension like a pro.
The secondary plot with Scully and the dying child doesn’t work nearly as well. I understand the necessity of the story: Scully needs something to challenge her faith, too. But the subplot is too depressing, too simplistic, and doesn’t go anywhere fast.
The relationship between Mulder and Scully is certainly unique, but I am afraid that only fans of the TV series will find their romantic scenes meaningful. I have never watched a single episode so I didn’t think their weird love affair was all that interesting.
I have no idea whether “The X-Files: I Want to Believe” will satisfy hard-core fans. But I enjoyed it more than I was expecting to.