65 review — Adam Driver + Dinosaurs. What’s not to like?

Written and Directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods | 93 min | ▲▲▲△△ | Crave

You know what you’re getting here in the opening moments when text across the screen suggests we’re visiting a time before “the advent of mankind.” Putting aside the tiresome gendered language, moments later we’re introduced to a family on a beach on an alien planet. They are entirely human, including Adam Driver.

Yes, 65 is stupid in ways that are nigh unforgivable, but it’s also so refreshingly not trying to be anything but what it is — Adam Driver and a teen try not to get eaten by a herd of predatory dinosaurs on prehistoric Earth.

You can argue with the execution — which is hit and miss — but the concept has teeth.

I mean, how often are we going to get a fantasy property like this with an A-List star that isn’t bending over backward to start a franchise or extend its IP? (That’s not to say it won’t if the box office is good enough.) It’s entirely singular, and it’s concise. I’m very much here for the hour-and-a-half fantasy pictures.

Beck and Woods were credited writers on A Quiet Placeso know a thing or two about building suspense, which serves them well enough here. Driver is Mills, the pilot who’s had to leave his wife and sick daughter to fly a ship full of cryogenic travellers… somewhere. It’s all a little vague. The ship runs into an unexpected asteroid field, which sends it crashing down to Earth.

It’s not the Earth we know — it’s the Earth of 65 million years ago, and Mills is on his own against a planet where everything wants to eat him, from enormous bugs to T-Rexes. Then he’s actually not on his own when he finds one of those capsules has survived the crash, and inside it is a teenaged girl, Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), who speaks a language he doesn’t understand.

An escape ship also came loose on the way down to terra firma, so the plan is this: stay alive long enough to get up the mountain to where that ship is, hope it’s intact and can get them off the planet. If the dinosaurs weren’t enough of a threat, how likely do you think it is that the asteroid field might herald a planet-smashing space rock that ends the dinosaur era? I mean, what are the chances?!

Yeah, like I said, it’s all pretty silly, but the monster effects are reasonably well done, and Driver is always compelling. Naturally, he feels guilt for having abandoned his daughter — funnily he never much thinks about his wife — but Koa gives him someone to care about again. The Last Of Us did it a lot better, but this is fine.

65 would be improved if the filmmakers had any sense of humour about the movie they’re making, even moderately. As it is, 65 won’t change your life, but it’s certainly a better time than the Jurassic World pictures. Why should that mediocre franchise corner the dinosaur market?

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.