Starring: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Billy Connolly, Xzibit, Amanda Peet

Director: Chris Carter

Screenplay: Frank Spotnitz, Chris Carter

Cinematography: Bill Roe

Running Time: 105 mins.

I Want To Believe, the subtitle for this, the second X Files film coming 10 years after the first and 6 years after the series dried up and went out with very much a whimper rather than a bang. A cynic may well view the only reason for this film as coming now, being down to the two leads having a lack of anything that could be described as a hit in as many years as the x files were closed down (this was filmed prior to Duchovny’s hugely successful Californication). But cynics aside, a new X Files film is a prospect that many fans of both sci-fi, the original series and horror afficionados would welcome with open arms. After all, in its prime the X Files was some of the most compelling television around (the CSI of its time) and the original film coming in the series heyday was non too shoddy either.

Where Fight The Future, the original film, concerned itself with the overall arc of the series (alien abduction), this one takes on a much smaller task in acting more like one the series stand alone episodes, in my eyes the better episodes with werewolves, circus freaks and vampires among many others. The films’ shoot was shrouded in secrecy and to tell you much of the plot would be too rob you of any of the suspense it holds. Suffice to say it concerns the supposed ‘visions’ of a paedophilic priest and severed limbs.

It’s great to see Mulder and Scully playing off each other again especially as a former fan of the show in its prime. However it’s hard to see what it would hold for non fans or those new too the franchise especially in its nods too past characters (Skinner makes a pointless and impromptu late appearance), a son to Mulder and Scully and some brief pointers as too the whereabouts of Mulders abducted sister. Many newcomers will fell lost in these moments and the main plot such as it is simply is not gripping enough to satisfy those wanting a thrilling cinemtic experience. Asides from the main mystery Scully is saddled with a completely unnecessary subplot concerning a sick child she is treating, this seems totally out of place and drags it down into Hallmark melodrama territory, a hell from which the main plot can never fully recover!

Director Chris Carter knows how to build tension and the highpoint of the film comes in a chase scene ending with a rather shocking death, the thing is this is as thrilling as it gets. Newcomers Xzibit and Amanda Peet have very little to do becoming merely spectators as Mulder and Scully take centre stage. There is some novelty to be derived from the fact that neither are FBI agnets anymore (Scully is a doctor and Mulder a bearded recluse) but any tension this may have been used for is lost as tere is a real lack of set pieces. The eason for this being that Carter only got to make the film as it has a very small budget ($30 million) this in filmic terms is often what more independent films have to work with. If Carter had a story to fit this amll budget it may well have been to his advantage, but as it is you are simply longing for some excitement, something that builds tension. And it never comes, most notably in the lack lustre finale.

So what IS good about it, well performance wise Billy Connolly surprisingly puts in a very subtle and moving performance as the aforementioned priest, treading the fine line between creepy and sympathetic, but never hamming it up as he often has a tendency too. His scenes with Scully in particular crackle with the required creepiness and wit that made the show a must see. And as I said before its great too see Mulder and Scully back together again from a fans point of view. Director Carter can certainly direct and there are some striking images here, the FBI scouring the snow being a highpoint, but his script as i said before is severely lacking, maybe he was just trying too hard to recapture something that now seems to be long gone. The grim box office of this Stateside would seem to suggest we have seen the last of Mulder and Scully, or at least until David Duchovny is in need of a hit again. But its a great shame they have left us with a whimper rather than a bang.

VERDICT

A deeply average piece of movie-making. I can’t imagine anyone other than true fans garnering any enjoyment from this and for a supposed thriller there is a severe lack of tension. Worth the trip if only to see an above average performance from Billy Connolly and to watch Mulder and Scully banter about Belief again. I wanted to believe, sadly i was let down.

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