Chris Knipp Writing: Movies, Politics, Art

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2023 10:58 am 
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Adam Driver stuck on earth with dinosaurs

This is a movie for Adam Driver completists. A lot has happened in Driver's amazingly fabulous career since he got started in movies thirteen years ago, including some very fine films. This isn't one of them. Why did he make it? Perhaps because it was the height of the pandemic, and it was an opportunity to work. There's nobody in it but Driver, mainly, and a lot of CGI dinosaurs, not enough, and not especially good ones. The studio saw a clinker here and release was repeatedly delayed.

If we delve too deeply into the plot we come up empty. What planet is Mills (Driver), his wife Alya (Nika King) and their sick daughter Nevine (Chloe Coleman) on? We don't know, but to raise the money for Nevine's treatments, Mills has elected to pilot a spaceship on a two-year mission. The flight goes astray, and winds up crashing on earth. It's a planet with which he's unfamiliar. He's pleased to find the air is breathable. But the inhabitants aren't friendly. They're all dinosaurs. Yes, the "65" of the title stands for sixty-five million years.

Everyone else has been killed on the flight, except for a girl called Koa (Ariana Greenblatt). Miraculously, half of the spaceship survives atop a mountain and is flyable. This is handy if Mills can make it up there, because his key device, also still miraculously working, informs him that a giant asteroid, or chain of them, is on its way which is going to pretty much kill off all life, the great dinosaur wipe-out. This is usually given as sixty-six million years ago, but a million years one way or the other won't matter in this very simply constructed film.

Koa's survival skills turn out to be truly remarkable. She and Mills don't speak the same language, but she knows some English words, so they communicate well, mostly. She saves him on more than one occasion.

Adam Driver really is quite an interesting actor as we can see in Noah Baumbach films like Marriage Story and is good in comedies like White Noise and Frances Ha. His physicality and slight strangeness have been well used in the Star Wars movies. He hasn't really done anything as close to pure action as 65. Here, he gets to use his Marines training. He falls and gets badly injured a lot and is often crying out in pain, but he picks himself up and starts running at top speed again across the primeval forests and plains he and the intrepid Koa traverse together. She seems to be doing rather better than he is at times. However, he is the one who knows how to fly the space ship.

Though largely devoid of interest or subtlety, this is a good looking picture. Adam Driver can do anything, certainly anything physical. His tall, broad-shouldered hunk quality and stoical expression make his survival of so many falls and injuries feel almost plausible. Face-wise, he has a sort of Prince Valiant look with a comic book timelessness. It's certainly not a usual sci-fi look. But this happens at the time of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction. Everything about this movie is preposterous. But it's mostly just a lot of running around, so it doesn't matter. And the filmmakers have had the wisdom to keep their very limited story unreeling for barely more than ninety minutes. In an hour and a half Mills and Koa are on their way home, and so are we.

65, 93 mins., began release in India, the United Arab Emirates and Belgium and moved to many countries in Mar. 2023, releasing Mar. 10, 2023 in the US. Screened for this review in the handsomely post-pandemic redecorated Regal Union Square, NYC Apr. 1, 2023. Metacritic rating: 40%.

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