February 28, 2016

No UFOs


The X-Files: I Want to Believe (Chris Carter, 2008). Of all the films made in the shadow of the Catholic child abuse scandal, did you expect one to be an X-Files sequel? I came to the second X-Files film late, via the recent reboot (mixed reactions, but I was interested in the way Carter and other writers were so clearly and amusingly playing with the idea that these guys were out of their time, as if they had been in hibernation since the 1990s). The film is more serious than silly, a story dead-end as opposed to another confusing episode in the over-arching “mythology” and more of a Scully story than a Mulder one. All of which are good things. If both lead actors were slumming it in this series, then Gillian Anderson was slumming it more than David Duchovny. And it’s also good that the problem of “belief” is hers, not his this time: Billy Connolly plays a disgraced Catholic priest who may have psychic powers; he is also a paedophile. How does grace and forgiveness operate here? If he is a charlatan too, which part of him is bogus? The psychic part or the faith part? Why do we doubt one more than the other? But it’s not very nuanced and it could go much deeper.