"Let's just say I want to believe"
Written By: Frank Spotnitz, Chris Carter
Directed By: Chris Carter
Starring, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Billy Connolly
My Rating: 6/10
So, after the torturous final seasons and another torturous 6 year wait, this was the best they could come up with! I am loathe to be critical of this film because I know it was made for the right reasons. It was a labour of love, however misguided and its very clear that everyone involved really wanted more films to come their way. So it's with a heavy heart that I must admit it wasn't wonderful. It wasn't awful! But unfortunately, as my friend exclaimed as the credits rolled "I've seen better episodes in Season 9!".
The film starts off 6 years after we left Mulder and Scully on the lam from the FBI, lying in bed together in a motel. If I was running from the FBI, based in Washington D.C., I would definitely run further than the countryside of Virginia. Not Mulder and Scully! They live together in a modest home in the country side. She is a paediatrician and he's a recluse who seems to do little other than cut weird stories from the newspaper and wallpaper his office. The FBI come along and offer to forget the past if Fox Mulder will come on board to help them with a case. Naturally, Mulder agrees, much to Scully's chagrin as it brings back the darkness of their past into the new life they've built together.
Billy Connolly plays a paedophile priest, Fr. Joe who claims to have psychic visions of the abductor of several women in the area. Mulder is needed as an expert to figure out if Fr. Joe is for real. Scully, with her love for children and still raw wounds of having to send her son William off to live on a farm, instantly hates Fr. Joe and this makes for some wonderfully biting dialogue (Scully: "Do you think God listens to your prayers?" Fr. Joe: "Do you think he listens to yours?" Scully: "Well, I didn't bugger thirty-seven altar boys").
The story moves along slowly and by the time we find out whats really going on it's hard not to feel like they should have given us more of this and less suspense. The final act and answer to the mystery is very very cool, but is hardly given any screen time.
Ok, so what's wrong with it? First of the horribly dated print that looked like a reject from the 1980s. With their meagre budget it seems they shot on pieces of film they found on the floor of the studios basement. I know it seems like a small thing, but it really effects the tone of a film. The aesthetic quality of the film is completely lost on such shoddy prints. At least the first movie looked fantastic. This, coupled with a pretty messy script made for an uneasy two hours.
What's right with it? First of all, the performances are as wonderful as ever. Gillian Anderson gets her acting chops out in full force here as almost every scene she's in is an emotional rollercoaster. Duchovny is his usual droll self but horrible underused. It's nice to see Scully shine for once, but really, Mulder was written like a bit of an idiot. When Mulder and Scully are together on screen, they both seem like they were never away. Their interaction has changed somewhat as they have settled into their romance and their love has deepened but of course become more blasse. Of course we miss the raging sexual tension but I loved that Carter had the balls to let them be realistic and not just give into the mob's demand for sex. He put Mulder and Scully exactly where they would be. Still each other's only other but domesticated. As the events of the film begin to tear them apart, you can see the strain and the fear in Scully of returning to that dark place that they've been before. You can't help but feel sorry for her and blame any over-reaction on her part on panic. Will it be the end of them? You have to wait for about two minutes into the end credits to see what the future holds in store for Mulder and Scully. I promise you the weirdest, most out of place image thats ever been committed to celluloid.
Personally, I am glad of where the story of Mulder and Scully went in this film. I would have loved to see them a bit more together and not unhappy and being torn apart. The tone couldn've used a bit of lightening up. Feeling more like an episode of Millenium than The X-Files, it's extremely dark and almost devoid of humour, which is unfortunate because that's where The X-Files and its stars really shine. So, I'll be content with this mediocre film and hope they're allowed make another one and that God sends Vince Gilligan or Darin Morgan back into the fray to write it. That's what I want to believe!
I still love you Mulder and Scully!
- Charlene Lydon