Review by Hannah Strong @thethirdhan

Directed by

Bryan Woods Scott Beck


Adam Driver Ariana Greenblatt Chloe Coleman


What is Adam Driver doing here?


Funny, but never intentionally so.

In Retrospect.

Entirely forgettable, partially nonsensical sci-fi fare.

Adam Driver stars as a pilot stranded in the Cretaceous period in this bafflingly undercooked sci-fi action flopbuster.

There’s a tweet I think of quite often when I’m watching a film with reviewing in mind: “Why must a movie be “good”? Is it not enough to sit somewhere dark and see a beautiful face, huge?” It’s a sentiment I kept circling back to while watching Scott Beck and Bryan Woods’ 65 – a fairly dire and derivative dino sci-fi – with regards to Adam Driver’s on-screen presence.

Every so often a new think-piece appears lamenting the death of the movie star. Social media has brought us closer to the A-Lister than ever before, and in the process obliterated much of the mystique that once made the rich and famous seem otherworldly. This, combined with the global domination of various franchise juggernauts which see our best and brightest reduced to dead-behind-the-eyes cogs in an increasingly unwieldy machine, indicate we’re holding out for a hero. Driver, with his deep bass voice and utmost professionalism even in the face of awful writing and janky CGI, is perhaps our great hope.

In 65, he plays Mills, a pilot travelling from the distant planet Somaris, 65 million years in the past, having reluctantly left his wife and sickly daughter Nevine (Chloe Coleman) at home. (NB: It’s never really established if Mills is a human simply living on a different planet, or an alien who merely looks, sounds, and acts like one.) When his ship hits an asteroid field and crash lands on our fair planet, Mills and his single surviving passenger – a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt) who doesn’t speak the same language as Mills – attempt to locate a missing escape pod so they can go home.

Unfortunately Mills and Koa have landed during the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and they immediately see Mills and Koa as two tasty snack-shaped morsels. Within minutes of landing, Mills is forced to bash one dino’s brains in with the butt of his space gun, in a scene that recalls The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror V segment ‘Time and Punishment‘. Such set pieces quickly become commonplace as the quasi father-daughter duo fight for survival, wrecking havoc on the natural habitat as they go.

Driver, to his great credit, is such a brilliant actor he almost sells this film single-handedly. He imbues the woefully underwritten Mills with a sense of gravitas, making up for a lack of tangible character traits with his surly stoicism and occasional moments of endearing levity. Full credit to Driver for providing such a wonderful performance under such trying conditions. The man is never anything less than a consummate professional, even when falling into a bog or squishing a giant bug on the back of his neck. And yes, he looks good doing it – Driver carries himself like Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes. He’s committed to this performance and the plot, despite it having more holes than Swiss cheese.

Unfortunately Driver’s immense talent can’t quite gloss over the distracting strangeness of 65, with its flimsy under-explained premise, comically vicious creatures, and jarringly brutal set pieces. Though the central relationship owes much to James Cameron’s Aliens, when the film straight up rips ideas and shots from Jurassic Park during its grand T.Rex showdown, it becomes overwhelmingly evident that Beck and Woods (best known for writing A Quiet Place) don’t have enough original ideas here to sustain even a fairly zippy 93-minute runtime.

There’s perhaps a kernel of a good film here, and a lead performance that’s better than it has any need to be, but shoddy execution, lazy world-building and a complete failure to capitalise on any of the potentially interesting threads that (perhaps accidentally) appear means 65 has less of an impact than the harrowing final episode of 90s sitcom The Dinosaurs.

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Published 13 Mar 2023

Tags: 65 Adam Driver Bryan Woods Scott Beck


What is Adam Driver doing here?


Funny, but never intentionally so.

In Retrospect.

Entirely forgettable, partially nonsensical sci-fi fare.

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