See, skip, or wait: Adam Driver in '65'
Did the 90 minute sci-fi slice deliver?
Commander Mills isn’t afraid of bad things happening; he knows tragedy all too well. When your job is to transport humans via interstellar methods, you’ll miss stuff, including death and sickness. It’s a weight that Adam Driver wears all over his face, even when words aren’t being spoken.
Played poignantly with an assertiveness that grows with the film’s age, Driver instills a poise in the astronaut from take one in Scott Beck and Bryan Woods’ new science fiction adventure film, 65.
It’s that stillness in Mills that aids him when his ship suddenly gets caught in a meteor shower, crashing into an unknown territory from an unknown time period. Let’s open the bag and take out the cat right now by just informing you he picked a heck of a time to pop in unannounced... 65 million years ago. Dinosaurs!
Along with the lone survivor of the crash, a young woman named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), Mills has to get to his escape pod before being eaten, blown to bits, or worse. Throughout the movie, we get glimpses of the family that Mills left behind. The driving force of his return home is the same as Koa, whose family has been missing since the crash.
Beck and Woods, who co-wrote (along with John Krasinski) a small sci-fi gem called A Quiet Place, keep things lean and moving, like the stranded souls at the heart of the tale. They don’t waste time on unnecessary story bloat, instead adding occasional touches of lightness and humor in what essentially breaks down to a two person vehicle. Outside of that, it’s a lean adventure film, coming in at a no frills 90 minutes.
Driver makes it all stick. It’s his first real lead role in the action hero genre, and he adds depth and nuance to a thinly written role. We don’t know much about Mills outside of who he wants to get back to, but the actor keeps us plugged in due to his ability to elevate material.
As for the creature-like foes who have no idea what brought Mills crashing into their home (hint: history said it took out the dinosaurs), their design and overall look/effect get the job done, producing a few solid jump scares. Look, the makers of this film didn’t need to reinvent how dinos look and act; just throw them in a story and watch them terrorize anything that moves. The gadgetry employment by Mills is inventive. A handful of large marbles that crack open like a egg before exploding? Very cool.
Overall, I’d spend the money and refreshments on 65, an original thriller with a solid hook and credible acting. Don’t sleep on Greenblatt either; she holds her own with Driver, who does some of his best work acting with kids.
If you like dinosaur romps and are tired of Chris Pratt saving the day and/or Jurassic events, hitch a ride on 65. It won’t change the way you feel about cinema, but it’ll get you going and show you another weapon in Driver’s arsenal.