Saturday 8 April 2023

REVIEW: 65 (2023) - Starring Adam Driver & Ariana Greenblatt

Review by Jon Donnis
"65" is an American science fiction action-thriller film written and directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods.

At just 86 minutes, minus credits, this film has already ticked a huge box for me regarding runtime. But is the film any good?

Let's first take a look at the plot.

On the distant, technologically advanced planet Somaris, pilot Mills (Adam Driver) convinces his wife (Nika King) that he should take on a two-year space expedition to earn money needed to treat their daughter Nevine's (Chloe Coleman) illness. However, on the journey back to Somaris, their spaceship is hit by a mass of asteroids and crash-lands on an uncharted planet. With his ship damaged and split in half, he finds that his passengers have been killed and contemplates suicide until he finds a lone survivor, a young girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt). Mills decides to take care of Koa. However, the two have difficulty communicating due to differing languages and a broken translator. The unknown planet is then revealed to be Earth 65 million years ago during the Cretaceous period.

Mills later discovers that the other half of the ship contains a functioning escape shuttle and sends a distress beacon for rescue. Mills tells Koa that they're going to the mountain where the shuttle is located, although he lies about her parents being alive to encourage her to go with him. As they traverse the planet, they bond, while Mills protects Koa from dinosaurs. A long time ago before mankind's history, this event took place on the distant planet Somaris.

Now the first thing you need to do is throw logic out of the window. For example, a film set 65 million years ago that starts on a planet with Homo sapiens (humans) speaking English and dressed in modern Western clothes seems a bit unlikely, but okay, I get it, whatever.

The first 20 minutes of the film are pretty decent, and the last 20 minutes are really good. The problem is the middle 45 minutes, and it seems that this is what has divided viewers the most. The problem is that this is advertised very much as an action thriller, but that description only really covers the last 20 minutes as the characters fight against dinosaurs to escape the planet. Much of the middle of the film is more of a survival film, and because the Mills character and the Koa character do not both speak the same language, they barely talk, which makes it hard to take much interest in their character development. I think the film would have been much better if it took a "Lost in Space" type of plot, with Mills and his family being stuck on an ancient Earth with dinos. We never really learn much about the Koa character, so there is no reason to care about her.

Now, don't get me wrong, I mostly enjoyed the film. As mentioned, the first 20 minutes and the last 20 minutes, especially, were very good. I liked the setup to the main story, and escaping the planet is really well done. Tension is built perfectly, the visual effects throughout are of the highest quality, I liked the dinosaurs, and the Mills character is likable; you want him to succeed.

The film, as mentioned, is just 86 minutes, which is a really nice runtime, and I am so glad they never tried to stretch it out much further.

The Good:
Strong visual effects, a nice beginning and ending, and a likable Mills character played by Adam Driver.

The Bad:
The middle part of the film drags. There is little character development, and it is hard to care about Koa.

It is rare I say this, but the short length of the film saves it, the middle bit is bareable to get to the great ending. In general I like Adam Driver too, and he puts in a strong performance here.

I score 65 a fair 7/10.

Out Now in Cinemas and on digital at