The Movie Waffler New to VOD - 65 | The Movie Waffler

New to VOD - 65

New to VOD - 65
An astronaut crashlands on Earth, 65 million years in the past.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

Starring: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman, Nika King

65 poster

There's a phenomenon in team sports that sees a player's status become elevated not by their performances but by their absence through injury. Many players are taken for granted because they don't do the flashy stuff, but take them out of the team and you suddenly realise the value of their contribution. The same is often true of filmmakers. 65 comes from Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, the writers of A Quiet Place. With this one they've opted to co-direct themselves, and watching them struggle to create anything close to the tense set-pieces of A Quiet Place makes you realise just what a great job John Krasinski did in directing that movie.

65 review

65 sees Beck and Woods fashion another sci-fi survival thriller, one with a hell of a premise. 65 million years ago an astronaut crash lands on Earth. It's the age of the dinosaurs and the asteroid that famously wiped them out is about to hurtle down to Earth in the next couple of days. Can the astronaut make his way across treacherous, dino-riddled terrain to an escape shuttle before the planet is destroyed? Sounds like a winner, right? And yet somehow Beck and Woods have managed to take this exciting concept and turn it into a mind-numbingly dull experience.

The astronaut in question is Adam Driver's Mills. In the opening sequence we see him say goodbye to his sickly daughter (Chloe Coleman) as he sets off on a two-year mission piloting a spacecraft to the far reaches of the galaxy. He's taken the task because his wages will pay for the treatment his daughter needs to save her life. When the craft runs into an asteroid storm Mills is forced to crash on a nearby planet. The reveal that this planet is Earth is done in the laziest manner possible, literally spelled out in onscreen text, an early sign that we're not in the most creative hands here.

65 review

Mills discovers that there is one surviving passenger, Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), a young girl who can't speak English. Mills lies to Koa that her parents are alive atop the distant mountain where the escape shuttle has somehow managed to land intact, and so the two set off on a dangerous journey.

Beck and Woods struggle to make said journey anywhere as scary, tense or exciting as it should be. From the off they face the problem of the audience knowing that Koa isn't in any real peril because we know a movie like this isn't going to kill the kid (unlike A Quiet Place, which killed a kid in the opening scene, thus making us feel anyone could potentially die at any point). And in order for Koa to survive, Mills needs to stay alive to pilot the escape shuttle, so we know he's not in any danger either. But the main issue here is the lack of engaging set-pieces (It's annoying that the very cinematic Prey went straight to streaming while this clogs up cinema screens). The dinosaurs, which are barely glimpsed, particularly in the film's murky night sequences, never feel like a real threat. Every time Mills finds himself in danger he suddenly remembers he's carrying a bag full of grenades, and the result is more akin to watching a well-armed hunter downing lions on an African safari than a human struggling to evade man-eating dinosaurs.

65 review

Driver and Goldblatt have some nice chemistry, and the latter is particularly adept at conveying a lot of emotion without words. Their efforts to polish a turd just leave them covered in shit however, and I suspect both actors will be keen to wash the stench of this production off their respective CVs. Once again Hollywood has done the impossible and made dinosaurs boring.

 is on UK/ROI VOD now.

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