Main cast: David Duchovny (Special Agent Fox Mulder), Gillian Anderson (Special Agent Dana Scully), John Neville (The Well-Manicured Man), William B Davis (The Cigarette-Smoking Man), Martin Landau (Dr Alvin Kurtzweil), and Mitch Pileggi (Assistant Director Walter Skinner)
Director: Rob Bowman
Strip away the layers of pretentious paranoia, grandiose voice-over monologues, and lack of continuity of the TV series The X-Files, and one can find the truth Chris Carter and his crew try hard to hide: it is a love story. A tale of lost souls battling to survive and find little happiness they could. For the novices, this movie details how Agents Mulder and Scully try to unravel some link between bees, viruses, men in black, and Antarctica. Don’t ask if you don’t understand, I doubt I can explain it myself in this allocated space, and I don’t think I should. After all, it can get… convoluted.
So why watch this The X-Files movie at all? Well, watch it for Mulder and Scully, two of the most genuinely made-for-each-other soul mates ever to arrive on TV and the big screen. On the surface, they are different – he’s the believer in conspiracies, mythologies, and ghosts (all the while remaining atheistic), she’s the skeptic, a medical physicist who holds Science and Catholicism as the skein of her existence. But who are they really? Two lonely people who has no one to trust but each other. He has lost his parents and sister, she has lost her daughter and sister, and they have been betrayed by everyone and just about anyone.
And in this one, the dynamics of the shared torment closes further, culminating with an aborted kiss following Mulder’s beseech to Scully not to quit and leave him alone to fight. This movie is, in fact, every shipper’s wet dream. Scully and Mulder never – probably ever – consummate their relationship, but their relationship goes beyond that – every eye contact, every gesture resonates with suppressed need for codependency and the end of the whole lonely, fucked-up journey to the Truth, whatever that is. I’m not the only one cheering when Mulder drags Scully to safety, or when Scully, upon seeing Mulder’s weakening, gathers the last of her strength to drag them both to safety.
“Scully, did you see that?” Mulder’s final words to Scully before she blacks out refers to a pivotal moment of the movie, but his eyes are looking into hers. And her eyes glistens with unshed tears and unspoken emotions before she closes them. Simply beautiful.
I suspect that the accolades have to go mainly to David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Mr Duchovny infuses Mulder with dry wit and irony – he looks hot, but he can’t get a date or work on his attraction to Scully to save his life – and his portrayal of Mulder is a mix of defiant anger at his helplessness in searching for the truth as well as world-weary exhaustion. He is tired, really tired. And Ms Anderson’s Scully is an amazing character of contrast. Fully in control of every one of her emotions, she just cannot let go of her grip on herself, as if in letting go, she would lose all finality in her already turbulent life. Her eyes, wide and flashing fear and stubbornness at every turn, are one of the strongest points of Scully’s character.
From the banter at the beginning to the long, lingering hand squeeze at the end, this movie is at its heart a love story. A tragic love story of two people who need each other but just cannot say the words in fear of the unknowns. But the end has us all hoping that one day, maybe one day, Scully and Mulder would find their peace. And that is why I, and I suspect many fans, watch this movie.