65 Review

65 is a generally enjoyable man vs dinosaur action movie, but despite Adam Driver in the lead it doesn’t feature anything fresh or original.

Last Updated on March 12, 2024

PLOT: An astronaut (Adam Driver) transporting a cargo of people to their new home crashes on an unknown planet… or could it be Earth, sixty-five million years ago? Faced with the dangerous terrain and a whole lot of dinosaurs, he must try to recover an escape ship while protecting the crew’s sole survivor, a young girl (Ariana Greenblatt).

REVIEW: 65 is a decent middle-of-the-road sci-fi thriller action movie. While it’s undeniably underwhelming, given that it comes from the guys who hatched the idea for A Quiet Place and stars the great Adam Driver, there’s enough action jammed into the scant ninety-minute running time to merit a ticket. But, it tries to do too much, namely by indulging in some world-building it doesn’t have the time for.

When I first saw the trailer for Scott Beck and Bryan Woods’ 65, I assumed that Adam Driver’s character was a human who somehow ended up in the past. Instead, an opening crawl reveals that the movie takes place in another galaxy, one which, similar to star Driver’s other franchise, happens to have existed “a long time ago.” It’s a curious choice with too much exposition jammed into the first few minutes, with it clumsily revealed that Driver plays working-class pilot Mills, who’s transporting humans to pay for his chronically ill daughter’s pricey medical treatment. His mission is set to take him away from his family for two years.

Setting the film in another galaxy makes me think Beck and Woods have a franchise in mind, but the film likely won’t muster enough enthusiasm for a follow-up. Between three Jurassic World movies, we’ve seen enough human vs dinosaur action, and it’s hard to make the concept fresh anymore. The CGI to depict the dinosaurs is good but less polished than in the Jurassic films (given that this costs a fraction of what they did). Like many recent films, the cinematography is so dark that unless you see this in a top-of-the-line theatre, much of the action will be hard to decipher (a problem that should be chalked up more to the sorry state of exhibition than the movie itself).

65 movie review

65 does benefit from having Adam Driver in the lead, with him delivering a commanding performance. He’s the only one in the film with much dialogue, as the girl he’s protecting, Koa, doesn’t speak English (or whatever language it is that Driver’s supposed to speak). Whether in an indie drama or an action flick, Driver can always be relied upon to give a good performance. He seems commendably into the action, taking the movie seriously and never phoning it in. Likewise, Ariana Greenblatt, despite not having any dialogue, is able to convey exactly what her character is thinking, and her father-daughter chemistry with Driver is solid. Unfortunately, the movie is ill-timed as it has to go up against another surrogate father-daughter story in The Last of Us, which will be the bar any future movies or shows such as this will be measured against. It can’t compete.

The best way to enjoy 65 is as a turn-your-brain-off sci-fi actioner. It’s fast-paced enough that the movie never really lags, although the action lacks any truly memorable moments. If anything, the movie’s best bits revolve around Driver as he tries to survive the terrain of Earth 65 million years ago, which is the one aspect featured here that feels fresh and new. It likely would have been a much more exciting movie had Driver been less well-armed. As fun as it is to watch him blast dinos, it starts to feel a bit too much like a video game you’re watching someone else play.

65 was produced by genre legend Sam Raimi, Deborah Liebling, and Zainab Azizi, so chances are that Raimi’s name will be enough to draw in a lot of viewers.




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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.