65. Everything Everywhere All at Once [Review]
A space ship under the command of Captain Mills (Adam Driver), a resident of a distant human civilization, crashes on our planet from 65 million years ago. The entire crew is killed except for Mills and a nine-year-old girl named Koa (Ariana Greenblatt). A huge disaster, but there is still a chance for rescue. At a distance of several kilometers, there is the second part of the ship, with an undamaged rescue capsule. Our protagonists can expect anything, and we want everything. Except for a postcard walk from point A to B.
The site of the unfortunate landing is deadly territory. With constantly hunting predators, with quicksand, disgusting vermin, debilitating humidity and volcanic geysers. Endless ways to die painfully. Mills has nothing to wait for, and there is not much time to prepare a specific plan, because a giant meteorite is already clearly visible in the sky approaching the Earth. A rifle in your hands and a handful of useful gadgets must be enough for many hungry T-Rex. We have to hit the road. Inaction is rather a guarantee of failure.
The directorial duo of Scott Beck and Bryan Woods undoubtedly succeeded in a few things in 65. First of all, it’s a completely fulfilled and faithful adaptation of a non-existent FPS game. Simple action, limited equipment (rope, bullets, grenades), corridors, dead ends and a few bosses to defeat before reaching your destination. Alternate stealth missions (step carefully!) with others that require reflexes and an accurate eye when using a rifle. For this environmental task: climb a tree to catch a signal or get out of an underground maze. With an hour and a half of 65, any player should feel right at home. When you go to the cinema, put the pad in your backpack.
Mills and Koa are not just markers on the map. The creators sparingly enrich their CVs and make sure that they are driven by credible motivations. For Mills, a two-year space journey is not an exploratory adventure, but an opportunity for a lucrative contract. Necessary to start treating his sick daughter waiting for him at home. Koa, who needs care, still hopes that her parents survived the disaster and are waiting for her in the second part of the crashed ship. A strong and convincing bond develops between Mills and Koa. The first finds himself again in the role of father-guardian, and the second receives some substitute of parental warmth. In building this relationship, the creators do not take shortcuts, because the language barrier of communication stands in the way. So they both learn each other, gestures replace words and step by step they gain trust in each other.
Beck and Woods do not deconstruct either catastrophe cinema, horror cinema, or cinematic survival. 65 is rather a set of known tricks, bogeys and a proven method of building tension. We get one more interesting staging scene (with the use of a scanner) and rarely surprising camera work. Sometimes the back of some monster will emerge under the feet of Mills as he flounders in the puddle, at other times he will notice a lurking velociraptor behind a layer of leaves or come across an ominous tyrannosaurus paw print. Some distinguishing feature or characteristic feature of 65 (in favor or not) may be a bizarre accumulation of threats and a mixture of genres. An epochal cataclysm in the form of a meteorite approaching the Earth, significant elements of Jurassic Park, the narrative framework of a video game and classic interstellar sci-fi. Even if 65 isn’t technically a revelation at all, and occasionally has some manufacturing shortcomings (I suspect the pretty high budget is due in large part to Adam Driver’s lavish check), it remains quite satisfying popcorn entertainment. Should we always expect more?