18 September 2009

Flashback Fridays- X-Files: I Want To Believe

URBAN:As a huge fan of the X-Files television series, I highly anticipated the release of this film and hoped that it would at least attempt to tie up the loose ends of the show's mytharc. Instead of this, was something that I clearly recognized, and in the end will appreciate more.

The film doesn't deal with aliens. It doesn't deal with freaks. What it sacrificed in curb appeal is more than made up for with an outstanding story with tons of characters that the viewer will instantly recognize. The result, is a very engaging story about belief and the consequences thereof.

The primary plot revolves around Mulder and Scully as they try move on with their lives after their FBI careers are over. Scully is a doctor at a Catholic Hospital and Mulder is a,,,, I don't really know. After an FBI agent shows up missing and a former priest/pedophile claims that he has psychic premonitions regarding the event, the FBI calls in a subject matter expert to help them out. The case and the gruesome oddities that accompany it have little to do with the central themes of the story.

The central theme of the story is the issue of belief. As I described in an earlier post about the X-Files, while the show is full of oddities, the central theme has to do with matters inherently important to Pragmatism, experience and how we can know.

This film is no different. Without ever being explicit, the film focuses upon Scully's Catholic Faith. Her story has two focuses. On one hand she has to deal with the treatment of one of her patients, a young boy with an incurable disease. On the other hand, she feels incorrigible about the former priest, betrayed by his acts, and unwilling to accept the validity of his visions.

The result is familiar in one sense. As in the television series, Mulder is the believer, and Scully is the pessimist. In this case the situation shifts on a deeper level. Scully's faith does not allow her to believe that a pedophile who has done so much wrong to her faith can be forgiven and used by God in a meaningful way. Mulder doubts that he and Scully can have a romantic relationship and that the FBI can be trusted after his previous working relationship fades.

X-Files has always forced us to ask ourselves whether or not our experience can be trusted when it violates our inclinations. This film goes even farther in calling into question the experiences that support our inclinations.

Visually, it looked like a Chris Carter effort. I primarily recognized the masterful suspense built with the camera work and the falling effects. Rather than show a dummy fall off a building Carter has always preferred to show a closeup of the victim against a computer generated background. In the dark, no one makes a quick pan look spookier.

The film wasn't perfect. I am certain that many fans wanted a mytharc completion/addition. I don't think that the timing was right for these efforts. I am also aware of many other iconic stories that have tried to do the same thing recently that failed miserably (Star Wars is the first that comes to mind). I was pleased that the film chose to deliver on a philosophical level before it attempts an easy answer and swift and neat completion.

URBAN: Recommended

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