It’s virtually not possible sitting down to look at the crazy sci-fi thriller 65 with out being niggled by a well-known sinking feeling, such as you’re about to eat a meal that received’t agree together with your system. Regardless of the intriguing presence of Adam Driver, whose post-Star Wars roles have usually prioritised artwork over commerce, and a magnetically gonzo premise that sees a pilot crash-land on prehistoric Earth, it’s arriving weighed down by baggage heavy sufficient to flatten any hopes the thrillingly nutty trailer might need impressed.
Not solely has the movie, shot two years in the past, already missed 5 prior launch dates however it’s touchdown final minute with out a lot of a visual marketing campaign (it was solely formally scheduled final month) and virtually completely with out screenings for critics (I attended the one one in New York, happening simply hours earlier than launch). Inevitably, this then lowers even essentially the most optimistic of optimist’s expectations to beneath floor stage, a cursed backstory for one thing seemingly so terrible that studio Sony would quite bury it than have anybody really watch it. However as is commonly the case with such a lead-in, it’s extra ho-hum than horrible, a multitude however not a massively embarrassing one.
Maybe if it had been actually tell-everyone-on-Twitter horrible, then perhaps it could at the very least be remembered by the point it swiftly lands on airplane film rotation however 65 veers between fantastic and barely lower than, by no means fairly bringing the enjoyable we have been anticipating,
Unusually, for an elevator pitch style movie equivalent to this, it begins off in far shakier territory than the place it finally ends up. Driver’s pilot, Mills, is saying goodbye to his spouse and sick daughter (cue carried out gentle cough) earlier than he goes on a two-year mission. Shot throughout early Covid, we rush by the scene-setting to keep away from something which may show logistically troublesome for what’s primarily a two-hander, an comprehensible sacrifice given the time, however the frantic tempo continues as soon as he crash-lands on a mysterious planet, clumsily sprinting us by what ought to have been a extra delicately efficient buildup. The primary act has the sensation of one thing that induced sleepless nights within the edit suite, jankily jumbled in, quick and uneven scenes ending earlier than they need to, giving it a distractingly arrhythmic high quality (criminally, the invention that the planet comprises dinosaurs (!) is really fumbled). As soon as Mills finds a fellow survivor (a superb, understated Ariana Greenblatt), the pair should make their means throughout harmful terrain to an escape pod.
It’s a fairly unremarkable survival film from then on, however effectively so within the shortest of bursts, due to a bodily dedicated Driver taking all of it quite severely and a few moments of respectable sufficient jeopardy. We’re teased one thing gnarlier, one thing which may have distanced it even farther from the family-friendly Jurassic Park franchise aside from high quality and finances, however it’s all slightly too restrained to be the intense and intensely foolish B-movie it may and will have been. One tellingly humorous scene has Greenblatt’s cute child rescue a pleasant dinosaur earlier than it will get promptly ripped aside by others however that’s as knowingly nasty because it will get – we’re in any other case caught with a makeshift household melodrama squeezed in between some largely unscary scare sequences. Reasonably than construct up real suspense, as writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods did of their breakout script for A Quiet Place, as writer-directors right here they depend on an annoying overdose of leap scares, most of which trigger yawns quite than jolts. Within the barely extra involving remaining act, Beck and Woods lean additional into the goofiness of their premise, as hazard begins fairly actually falling out of the sky, however it’s a case of too little, too late.
It’s not fairly the poisonous catastrophe it’s being handled as however 65 is nowhere close to the giddy lark it ought to have been, crash-landing someplace within the center as a substitute.