I Want to Believe is the subtitle of the new X-files movie, and has several meanings within the story. The first part of my review will be spoiler free, the second half will contain some spoilers, but I’ll let everyone know where the transition happens.
If you’ve never seen the X-files, I think you’ll be lost. The movie was billed as a stand-alone story, but it doesn’t really work out that way. I have a feeling that you won’t be as connected to the characters, and as emotionally invested if you haven’t followed the series. I have read several reviews from non-fans who did like the movie, however.
If you are an X-files fan, I’ll tell you exactly what the movie is like; an extra long TV episode. Admittedly it is a good storyline, it fits right in with the X-files universe as far as sub-plot episodes go. And, unlike some recent movies, this one managed to really keep my interest, and made me want to stay with the movie to find out what happens next (unlike, say, Hellboy II).
This is a movie you can wait for until the DVD comes out if you wish, but I think fans of the show will enjoy it, as long as you don’t go in with really high expectations (again, it isn’t an X-Files main plot storyline). If you’ve got the gas money, and money for tickets, and the time, it is a good mystery/suspense movie to go see. For my Christian readers, and those that care about such things, the movie is rated PG-13; it had violence, “distrubing images,” sexual innuendo, and mild language. I will say that some of the themes and plot devices may offend some Roman catholic believers. The acting was well done, esp. by Billy Connolly.
Now, onto the part of the review that contains some SPOILERS. The relationship between Mulder and Scully takes center stage in this movie; it shows us the depth of their relationship, and lets us see a turning point for both of them. The themes covered in this movie are perfect for The Christian Scribbler; Can someone that has done something truly heinous make up for it in any way? Can they be forgiven? Does God hear their prayers? What role should our faith play in our pursuits and relationships with others? Are modern medical advancements morally acceptable, if so, where do we draw the line in testing and implimentation? And it manages to contain just about every sin known to man; pedophilia, murder, fornication, pride, etc…
The movie quickly shows us what has become of Scully; she’s a doctor at a Catholic hospital, and yes, she still sports her ever present cross necklace. As the story draws in our leads, Mulder and Scully, we find out that a kidnapping has occurred and someone has gotten visions of the brutal act; a former priest by the name of Father Joe…did I mention he is a pedophile? Admittedly, he is a convicted pedophile, meaning he was caught and charged, and apparently released. He knows it was wrong, and is seeking forgiveness, as well as joining a community of sex offenders who monitor each other; in the plot we are lead to believe this is so they will not slip since they hate each other as much as they hate themselves. I have to say that some of the humor in the movie would make me mad, and ill, if I were a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest…
Anywho, “I want to believe” is a mantra taken up by several characters either directly or indirectly: Mulder wants “mystery” and intrigue back in his life, Scully wants to know if she can rely on God and stay connected with Mulder, as well as believe in the visions Father Joe is having; and Father Joe himself hopes and prays he can be forgiven, and that God still hears his prayers. These themes are all connected by the main plot: it is an FBI agent that has gone missing, and no one can find her. Due to some of the odd aspects of the case, mainly the fact that the former priest is helping to find clues through psychic visions, the FBI sends an agent to cajole Scully into cajoling Mulder to come back as a consultant on the case.
I have to say that I was surprised at some of the questions Chris Carter (the director) raises in the movie, and leaves the audience to ponder over. As I said, for me, the one that really jumped out is God’s power of forgiveness and if everyone has access to that forgiveness through Christ. I do believe everyone can be forgiven through Christ, and I think the movie, while not answering the question directly, hints at this while still showing that we still suffer the effects of our sins here on Earth. Our sins will also change how others perceive us, which is completely understandable.
“Big” SPOILER: My favorite moment in the film is when Agent Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) makes an appearance, and sums up my feelings in the film by pulling a gun and taking names…at that point, it is a relief to see that someone has enough brains to go into creepy places with a loaded weapon (why exactly did Scully and Mulder not have their guns as I believe West Virginia is a Conceal and Carry state?).
I believe I’ve managed to give a review without revealing the biggest plot line of “who did it.” If you would like to leave a comment or ask a question, would you kindly indicate if it contains spoilers.
If I was to grade the movie…I think a B+ fits pretty well. It was a solid Mulder/Scully story well acted. If you don’t go into the movie with high expectations you should enjoy it well enough, but as I said earlier, you can easily wait until the DVD comes out.