David Duchovny, The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Credit: Diyah Pera

Even a casual fan of TV’s The X-Files knows in advance what beliefs are at stake in The X-Files: I Want to Believe. Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) wants to believe in the reality of paranormal phenomena; Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) wants to put her faith in God and science working in harmony. Both are challenged by evidence. It was ever thus — and that constancy, along with the familiar frisson of romantic tension between the still wry Mulder and the still mournfully radiant Scully are what anchor this melancholy, depressive, time-warped feature re-opening of old files. Director and series creator Chris Carter adds a defrocked priest (Billy Connolly) who prays that if he uses his psychic abilities for good, God can forgive him his sins as a convicted pedophile. Should Scully, Mulder, and a harder-edged FBI (represented by Amanda Peet) believe the repentant sinner’s claim to ”see” missing persons?

The movie arrives like a cosmic relic from the distant 1990s, when hope wasn’t quite so battered. Older and sadder, Mulder and Scully are no longer sure they’ve got the energy to even ask if the truth is still out there. And it feels as if Carter is skeptical, too. C+