Want no more

Review by Vives Anunciacion
Inquirer Libre August 19 2008

The X Files: I Want to Believe
Directed by Chris Carter
Starring David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson

In technical terms, it’s properly treated and smartly made (I didn’t say it has an intelligent script). David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are back in the roles that made them famous in The X Files: I Want to Believe. The good news is, just like the hit TV series this movie is based on, these two are the best parts of the show.

This is supposedly a stand-alone story that non-fans of the series can reasonably understand, but I guess a good knowledge of the TV show helps in better appreciating this movie. Other than this, I Want to Believe is just an okay drama-thriller about two persons who have supposedly matured in their relationship, but start questioning their beliefs in each other when extraordinary challenges face them again.

Six years after their last X Files adventure (the series ended in 2002) and ten years after the last movie (Fight the Future, in 1998), Fox Mulder (Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Anderson) are no longer agents of the FBI.  Scully is a doctor in a Catholic hospital tending a child dying from an incurable brain disease. Mulder is in protective hiding to avoid further charges from the government which he has accused of many conspiracies.

The two are forced out of “retirement” when they are enlisted by agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) to help the FBI locate a missing female FBI agent by aiding a pedophile priest who claims to have visions of the victim. No one wants to believe the priest, especially the very rational and devoutly Catholic Scully, except Mulder, whose interest in the case can be linked to his personal search for his missing sister. Science and faith are tested with and against each other, but in the end, faith itself will be tested before the case can be solved.

The best part of I Want to Believe is seeing Duchovny and Anderson relive their on-screen characters with true chemistry as if the relations between Mulder and Scully have truly aged through the years. The movie’s title is most appropriate with Scully and her terminal patient, on how she can make herself believe that she can still save the kid’s life even if her faith and her science deny her that possibility.

I would even dare say that up to a certain point, it’s a relatively smart, moody semi-creepy thriller more sophisticated than some blockbusters. Unfortunately for director Chris Carter, the mystery plot is just too thin for the big screen (Russian experiments, again?) and the entire movie just feels like an okay edition of the series, which has had better episodes. In that sense I don’t see the point of I Want to Believe being on the big screen rather than being a made-for-TV-movie, which is what it is.

There’s good musical scoring and a few creepy surprises here and there, but overall I Want to Believe is no big deal – a better drama than a thriller but only a mild combination of the two. However, if Scully’s last line and the last image at the end of the credits mean anything, fans should see this movie as a proper closure to the beloved show.

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