Friday, 8 August 2008

The X-Files: I Want To Believe

I believe I wanted to like this movie, I truly did. Catching glimpses of the two main stars and creator/director Chris Carter at the London premiere two days beforehand added to the excitement, alas it turned out to be the most exciting and interesting thing related to the movie.
It starts promisingly enough. A female FBI agent is attacked in her house, and she fights back with a clawed utensil, leaving deep, distinctive cuts on her attacker’s face and hand, yet she disappears. We then see a team of FBI agents being lead across the snow, where they discover a severed arm with deep cuts in the hand.
The team is lead there by Father Joe, a paedophilic priest who claims to have visions relating to the woman’s disappearance. However, as the entire FBI is now sceptical about visions, they ask Scully to bring in Mulder to help with the case. Scully, now a full time doctor, is reluctant to get involved, as is the now reclusive Mulder, complete with obligatory hermit-like beard; yet while he finally gives in and goes back to the “darkness”, Scully adamantly keeps out of it.
While the movie is predominantly a dark and occasionally gruesome affair, there are some amusing moments, particularly a cheeky little joke about George Bush Junior.
Billy Connelly is decidedly creepy as the disgraced Father Joe, and his altercations with Gillian Anderson’s Scully are, performance-wise, the best scenes in the film. While the priest’s motives are mysterious, it does not stop his vague yet conveniently timed visions becoming strained and monotonous.
The movie also touches on controversial issues, such as stem cell research, and, through Father Joe and another priest hell-bent on making Scully’s job difficult; the Catholics come off less favourably than the Russian villain, played by Callum Keith Rennie.
There is a lot of character revelation and development in the movie, although surely there has been enough time to do that over nine series. Yet Anderson and David Duchovny slip so easily back into their most famous roles it is as if they had never stopped. Their performances were let down by a slow and unoriginal plot, and Carter’s direction seemed more made-for-TV than Hollywood material
While the extra-terrestrial theme in the latest Indiana Jones movie seemed out of place there, it would have been more than welcome in the X-Files. If you’re really desperate for a supernatural story with little green men, go for Indy.

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