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The X Files: Fight the Future

Film Review by Warren Arronchic

xfiles.gif - 23.48 K"One man alone can't fight the future," says a ward of the alien invaders as he dismisses the efforts of Special Agent Fox Moulder (David Duchovny).

Wrong. Special Agent Moulder is a Fox, after all, and he's just as smart as a fox too.

Though The X File's finale strains a thinking man's credulity, the imaginative explosiveness that rumbles across the screen, nevertheless, is cinematically (thanks to Ward Russell) impressive.

Agent Moulder (man) saves woman (Special Agent Dana Scully, played by Gillian Anderson). This save-the-woman scenario, however, comes on the heels of an earlier adventure in which Scully saves Moulder.

We learn that Scully had wanted, before she became an FBI Agent, to practice medicine. Yes, this is clearly the kind of woman who hoped to be a doctor, not just marry one.

From the standpoint of a role-conscious observer, the last-minute escapes of both hero and heroine are allowed subtle reversals as Moulder finally flees ahead on the ladder from hell to save himself, turning back to Scully, calling on her to hurry. Later, when he's exhausted, she shields him from the elements.

Tit for tat.

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Scully with a Fox
The X Files crosses into unsettling territory in other ways. There's an alien virus loose in the world, for example. Unlike AIDS or Ebola, both "newcomers", as one character explains, this ugly virus is said to be planet earth's original inhabitant, accidentally uncovered in the present by an unlucky little Texan boy, one who, prior to his demise, enjoys his moment in the hot sun.

Just before being invaded by the virus, he waxes Texas-style butch, spitting on the ground Roseanne-style. Then, assaulted by squiggling green-blooded worm-like creatures—climbing through every vein in his body--the boy falls into the dust, hopefully not on the spot whereon he spat.

This is a virus conspiracy film that suggests complicity at the highest levels of the government, a fact which Dr. Alan Cantwell, author of Queer Blood (see 13 chapters of this book in GayToday's continuing series on AIDS) might appreciate. The difference of course, is that the blood in The X Files is queer only if green blood can be considered queer.

There are a few good lines about relationships—illustrated by Scully and Moulder—just before they're getting ready to kiss. Do they kiss? Guess.

Here again, the agents' roles are reversed. Scully's mindset is that of an empiricist who generally refuses to kow-tow to untested theorizings based, as are Agent Moulder's, on mere intuition. That Moulder is intuitive—he gives good hunches—gives him insight into what Scully's dry rationalism has contributed to his life. Her honesty has informed it, he says, and provided him some balance. Thus, beside (not behind) every successful man, even Moulder, is a wise woman.

The FBI—from which Moulder and Scully draw paychecks—hardly inspires much confidence as portrayed in The X Files. Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz,, authors of the script, encourage a wary outsider's view of government, one which, if it doesn't border on extreme paranoia, is at least solidly suspicious.

Absolute trust in governmental agencies, though it comforts many, must, in the end, backfire badly. The X-Files puts its highest hopes instead on individuals thinking for themselves, trusting in themselves, and working outside the structures and frameworks of conventional authority. To the extent that such admirable individualism permeates The X Files and thereby influences real people to think and act on their own behalf and on behalf of others, it is one of 1998's fantasy summer film fest's best. Individuals, it tells us, can put up a valiant fight against the onslaughts of an undesirable future.