The X-Files: I Want to Believe

Film, Science fiction
2 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars
Rob Bowman’s original spin-off movie, made at the height of the TV series’ popularity in 1998, expanded its small-screen format into a spectacular stand-alone feature. This belated follow-up, helmed by series creator Chris Carter, feels like a self-contained TV episode. At its heart is the emotional relationship between ex-FBI paranormal investigators Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), a troubled agnostic who wants to believe, and Dr Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), a rational sceptic. This humanises the script’s big ideas about faith versus science, but also scales down the events. While fans may welcome this back-to-basics approach, casual viewers expecting another spectacular tale of spaceships and aliens could be disappointed.

When a female FBI agent is abducted, Mulder believes the ‘visions’ of psychic priest Father Joe (Billy Connolly) hold the key to the mystery; Scully thinks the ex-paedophile is trying to expiate his past sins. With Father Joe’s help, sundry body parts are found, some containing traces of animal tranquiliser. Organ theft, it seems, may be the motive. This chimes oddly with Scully’s own medical dilemma: she is contemplating painful, experimental stem cell therapy for a young boy with an incurable degenerative disease. On the one hand, a vivisectionist nightmare, on the other, an ethically ambiguous dream of power over death.

In its prime, ‘The X-Files’ tapped in to a zeitgeisty fascination with paranormal phenomena and conspiracy theories. But six years after the show sputtered to a close, Carter, Duchovny and Anderson are going through the motions. Lazy plotting, so-so performances and squandered ideas lead to only one diagnosis: there is no compelling reason to keep this moribund formula on a life-support machine.

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Details

Release details

Rated:
15
Release date:
Friday August 1 2008
Duration:
104 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Chris Carter
Screenwriter:
Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz
Cast:
David Duchovny
Gillian Anderson
Amanda Peet
Billy Connolly
Xzibit
Callum Keith Rennie