[Movie Review] 65
65 l Sony Pictures

The new Adam Driver sci-fi/dinosaur thriller 65 asks the question, “What if Kylo Ren was in a Jurassic Park movie?” Okay, that’s not exactly what this film is, but Driver does play a brooding space traveler who ends up stuck on Earth 65 millions years ago, directly before a life-ending asteroid comes to wipe life from the planet.

This film has a lot going for it. Sam Raimi produced it. Danny Elfman scored it. The writers of A Quiet Place, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, wrote and directed the film, and Adam Driver is the lead star of the film, showcasing both his emotional and physical acting at a level you rarely see, especially on the physical side. Plus there are dinosaurs!

Unfortunately for 65, it seems like Covid has gotten the worst of it. It’s had several release delays since its filming during 2020 and at this point it seems to have little marketing behind it, coming out at a time when most people are catching up on Oscar-nominated films rather than heading to the theater to see a big blockbuster film. I have a strange feeling that this movie, which hasn’t done well with critics, will also not do well in theaters, but I think there’s a case to see it and I want to spend some time telling you why I had such a great time with 65.

This movie harkens back to a style of sci-fi we rarely see. Either they have to be big epics like Star Wars or think-piece dramas like Arrival, but this movie isn’t interested in science details. It’s only interested in shooting laser guns at dinosaurs and that is just freaking rad to watch. Don’t get me wrong. I love the epics and the dramas. Probably more so than most. I am a critic, after all. But I rarely get the chance to turn off my brain for a bit and just get sucked into an insane, sincere joy ride.

Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt star in 65.

It was a breath of fresh air to see Adam Driver playing a character that still showcased a range of emotion while also sprinting and shooting at monsters. Portraying Mills, a pilot of a spaceship filled with sleeping passengers all in their pods, frozen in time. The pilot crash lands on a planet and ends up finding himself 65 million years back in our history, to the time directly before the dinosaurs all went extinct. That’s it. No other science needed.

Driver gives a wonderful performance, playing opposite a young girl, played by a non-English speaking Ariana Greenblatt who pulls off some great emotional acting, and CGI dinosaurs for the entirety of the film’s runtime. His family story is moving and he showcases his character’s emotional state perfectly. Beyond the drama, he also spent more time in this film running, jumping, and falling. Having a real military background, it felt like I was watching a real soldier. He wasn’t a big, larger-than-life action star like The Rock, but a real guy who’s been trained and is doing the best he can to survive.

The sound of 65 is also great. The dinosaurs, the score, the jump scares. They all stem from the sound of the film making it believable. The camera work is fantastic. There are several scenes where darkness plays a key factor, and there are shots of the dinosaurs that make them look extremely imposing. I’d also like to mention the set design, prop makers, and costuming departments. Everything felt subtle and normal. The technology of Adam Driver’s future (or past) doesn’t seem far from ours. Everything felt like you’d expect that rarely did I ever focus on the science fiction of the movie. It allowed the film to feel much more like an action film. It was as if Jurassic Park was less about the wonder and beauty of the dinosaurs, and more about the chomping and the bloodshed.

Speaking of, the dinosaur designs felt familiar enough, while also being a bit more menacing looking than the Jurassic Park monsters. We get enough variety in dinosaurs, putting our characters in danger quite often. In fact, this film cuts right to the point, introducing the sound of the dinosaurs a few minutes into the film, and our first glance at them not long after. Also, there’s one dinosaur you’ll fall in love with and I wish I could tell you more.

I had fun with this film. The dumb kind of fun that doesn’t need much explanation. It had enough heart and action and scares to keep me entertained for its easy 1 hour and 33-minute runtime.

65 is now in theaters.

Josh Taylor
Latest posts by Josh Taylor (see all)
Movie Reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *