The X-Files: I Want to Believe *** (out of ****)

Director: Chris Carter
Writers: Franz Spotnitz and Chris Carter
Cast: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet, Billy Connolly, Xzibit. Mitch Pileggi, Callum Keith Rennie, Adam Godley, Alex Diakum
Rating: PG-13 (violent and disturbing content and thematic material)
Running Time: 104 min
Release Date: 7/25/08

The X-Files: I Want to Believe is the second feature film based on the long-running TV series that blossomed from a cult hit to a critical acclaimed success. The episodes of the series basically fell into two types. There were standalone mystery (usually monster) of the week episodes and those that were part of a continuing UFO mythology. The new film is clearly in the spirit of the first type.

Both Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) have long since left the FBI. Mulder is actually a wanted man that no one seems to be looking for all that much. Scully is left pathology behind to become a practicing physician. Her pressing concern is a young boy who has rare and supposedly incurable disease. The hospital administrator want to move the boy to hospice care and let him die in peace while Scully struggles to find a new treatment that my cure him.

Meanwhile a female FBI agent is abducted as she returns home and not by aliens. Special Agent Dakota Whitney (Amanda Peet) has turned to a psychic named Father Joe (Billy Connolly) for help in locating the missing agent who he insists is still alive. In addition to his paranormal skills, Father Joe is a convicted pedophile priest who is now living a halfway house for sex offenders. He is racked with guilt for his many terrible sins and sees helping others with his psychic abilities as chance God has given him to do penance. However, FBI has their doubts about Father Joe and send Agent Drummy (Xzbit) to contact Scully with offer to pass on to Mulder that all will be forgiven if he will come back to help them find the missing agent.

Scully know where he has been hiding as they have become a couple. She really doesn’t want to go back into the mystery solving business. She has a patient to save. In addition she believes not too unpredictably that Father Joe is a fraud. This is further aggravated by the fact that she finds his crimes so disgusting that working with him is revolting. As Mulder becomes more involved in the investigation the strain on their relationship grows. But she inevitably get drawing into it.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe is a nice reunion film for old X-Files fans that updates us on what our intrepid investigators are have been doing since the end of the series. For one thing they have gotten older. The plot succeeds in being morbid enough without dwelling on it while the undercurrents of what is really going on in paranormal remain suitably murky as always.. We even have an appearance of Assistant Director Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) who always radiates the image of a senior government official regardless of the weirdness of the setting. While the current movie lacks the apocalyptic flavor of Chris Carters last big screen adventure, hardcore X-Files fans won’t want to miss this one.

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