Today: July 17, 2024

Mainstream cinema seems to be allergic to original ideas. Or rather, shies away from anything that isn’t already an existing piece of intellectual property. Be that a comic book, novel, pre-existing cinematic franchise or otherwise. It seems to be the entire way to market a film these days, if you cannot tell your target audience that your film is like this but bigger it seems you can’t get bums on seats. Which is a shame because 65 is a genuinely fun and thrilling film that should have been a bigger box office success.

Set millions of years ago, 65 in case you’re wondering, the film follows astronaut Mills (Adam Driver) ferrying a freighter craft filled with people across the galaxy. When his ship is hit by a stray asteroid he finds himself stranded on a planet. Locating one other survivor in young girl Koa (Ariana Greenblatt) they must traverse hostile terrain, populated by dinosaurs to get to their escape ship.

Due to Mills and Koa not speaking the same language much of 65 is relatively dialogue free which is something of a blessing. Given 65 comes from A Quiet Place co-writers Bryan Woods and Scott Beck it’s clear they are filmmakers who put significance in actions speak louder than words. This is not your modern adventure film, there are no Ryan Reynolds style quips here, but rather a more focussed relationship of a father figure protecting his surrogate daughter through a hostile world. Think The Last Of Us but with dinosaurs rather than zombies.

What makes 65 so enjoyable is it feels like an ‘80s throwback. A high concept ‘what if’ with an enjoyable buddy dynamic that resonates thanks to a smartly, and briefly, told backstory. It means that with each scene of peril we’re fully invested and, given the location and timeline of it all, never quite sure who might actually make it.

The action is gripping, Beck and Woods framing everything in such a way as to what might be lurking in the background of a frame, even if it often is a little unbelievable that an enormous creature could sneak up on a person. The effects are brilliant, easily up there with the latest Jurassic World offerings but with a bit more grown-up levels of goo and icky in places.

65 is a very satisfying, often thrilling creature feature that is nothing new but very satisfying for smartly achieving what it sets out to do.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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