65 (2023) Review

Synopsis: Mills (Adam Driver) crashes on earth 65 million years ago and fights dinosaurs.

Oh this is annoying. A title like that, and a film like this, you can almost sense that a review would say “65; a film as dull and unoriginal as the title suggests”, that comment itself would be (ironically) really lazy and predictable. But I can’t think how else to put it. Adam Driver fighting dinosaurs should not be as dull as this. Everything is just incredibly bland and dour. I think the problem is that the premise and the length (93 minutes) would lead you to believe that 65 will be an action-packed thrill-ride, albeit one that is a bit tongue-in-cheek and silly. Instead, the whole thing is far too serious, which feels like a missed opportunity.

That’s actually a good summary: a film of missed opportunities. Throughout, the script makes the wrong choices, goes down the wrong path, eats the wrong berries (I forgot the point I was making). Usually a script is lucky enough that these choices would be placed far apart in a script so that it isn’t too egregious but here it’s unlucky enough that it makes two narrative missteps in the opening.

One: Starting with Mills leaving his family behind so he can take part in a two year expedition. His daughter (Nevine) is sick so he needs to be able to afford healthcare etc. We find out relatively early on that Nevine died midway through Mills’ expedition. That should have been spread out. If we start not knowing this daughter is sick then it can unveil that to the audience through the film, and allow us to mentally go back and use the new knowledge to recontextualise earlier scenes. This doesn’t do that, because it gives us so much, so early on, it kind of feels like there’s no character exploration because we’re told too much early on. It’s the narrative equivalent of not bothering to wrap up Christmas presents. It also means that the film starst off calm and serene, which is the opposite of what you want. If it opened up with the spacecraft crashing then the audience would automatically be on the edge of their seat.

Two: We don’t see anybody else on the ship before it crashes. We aren’t introduced to them, the first time we see them, they’re all dead. This feels like a mistake because it means the audience doesn’t feel anything when they die. If we replaced the opening with a small scene of crew members joking around with each other it would flesh them out, so when everybody dies, the audience would actually feel something. The only other character we see is Koa, and with the exception of her desire to be reunited her parents, the deaths of the crew don’t effect the plot at all. There are no moments where Mills feels particularly haunted by all his colleagues being dead (or walking through their blood, in one of the few effective scenes). So what was the point of it? Why kill off that many people if you’re not going to have it have any baring on the plot?

That’s the other thought 65 provoked in me: Why? There are so many times where I don’t know why the writers made the choices they do. The core one: why is it set 65 million years in the past? Why not just have them as humans in the present day on a distant planet? The fact it’s earth, and in the past, adds NOTHING to the story. The odds that human life would evolve to the EXACT specifications on two different planets is astronomical. Is it just there so they can tie in the giant asteroid that caused the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event? I think it is. I did think that whole plot made the characters look like idiots. Mills is an experienced spacecraft pilot, so he is aware of what asteroids do. Yet when he spots a giant flaming rock moving gradually closer to earth, he just seems to be like “meh, not my world, not my problem, YOLO”. Both characters are a bit stupid to be honest. Koa traps a small dinosaur in a tunnel and throws a handful of grenades down, one would have done, and the other grenades could have been used for something else. It doesn’t matter in the end, they don’t need the grenades at any point, they were only used in 2 scenes and they didn’t matter. A lot that happens in this doesn’t matter. For example, at one point Mills wakes up and finds that Koa is foaming at the mouth. He opens her mouth and pulls a parasite out, then she recovers. That’s it, from “oh no, this character might die” to “everything’s fine” in less than a minute. The parasite thing isn’t mentioned again, doesn’t threaten the characters again, so ultimately a near-death of a main character means NOTHING. This keeps happening, something seemingly important happens, they get past it, the threat is no longer there. It’s not narrative, it’s video game levels. It might have worked better if the film had more survivors, then we could see them being killed off as the film develops. It would mean the world actually FEELS dangerous, instead of fake danger that we know can’t pierce the characters plot armour.

Of course, this could have been on a different planet with a different asteroid, and nothing would have been different. In fact, it didn’t even need to leave earth. The plot, as it is, would work perfectly fine if it was a character in modern times who is on a ship that lands on a deserted island full of creatures. I mean, that would basically be King Kong, but this is not a film aiming for originality anyway so fuck it.

So in summary; a film clearly aiming for spectacle, but instead ends up being utterly forgettable. Far too many pointless scenes adding up to a pointless movie. It also has possibly the worst title of the year in terms of making it easy to find in a few years time.

Annette (2021)

Quick Synopsis: The tale of an opera singer (Marion Cotillard), a bitter comedian (Adam Driver), and their opera-singing daughter Annette (a marionette puppet)

Not going to lie, I was apprehensive about this. I thought it would be a bit too “arty” for me to enjoy. Make no mistake, this is a weird film. But it’s weirdly enchanting. This is a real head fuck. I am still in shock. It’s not a film I watched and found myself investigating the characters and the narrative, this is something I watched and just let envelop me. It was an EXPERIENCE. It feels like something unique and special and I really wish I got a chance to see this earlier.

There’s a company called Luna Cinema who do outside screenings of popular films in unique locations (a lot of them are on the grounds of medieval castles). I would absolutely LOVE to get an opportunity to watch this film in a situation like this. One where the screen is comedically large and you get to experience it in a way that you’ll always remember.

There’s a real flow to this. The music flows into each other, the performances flow through with an almost ballet-like precision and rhythm, it’s apt that one of the core scenes takes place on a boat as watching this feels like you’re floating down a river.

The music is PERFECT for something like this. The soundtrack was composed entirely by Sparks (best known for This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us), and their music is perfect for a film like this. The weirdly etheral and violent tone their sound has suits being the musical accompaniment for a film, especially a film that makes the narrative choices this one does. On the downside, their unique vocal takes are INCREDIBLY hard to recreate. There are times where Adam Driver is a little flat but that’s only compared to what you know Sparks themselves would sound like, so considering what he has to do it’s to be expected that he wouldn’t nail it 100%.

So in summary, I’m not sure whether I loved this film or not, I’m not sure I would show it to others, but I know I HAVE to watch it again, I know I have to experience the complete package that this film presents, and I know there’s a chance every single person reading this will absolutely hate it.

The Last Duel (2021)

Quick synopsis: Ridley Scott directed film about the events leading up a duel between Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) after Jacques is accused of raping Sir Jean’s wife (Jodie Comer).

I had heard mixed things about this. Some people had said it’s incredibly boring and muddled, some have said it’s an incredibly powerful piece of cinema. In my opinion it’s a mixture of both. It’s an incredibly powerful piece of cinema, that’s quite boring in parts. There are moments where it goes on too long, the ending in particular probably could have been trimmed. As it is the final shots are Jean and Marguerite riding out slowly on horseback through a crowd as Jacques’ body is stripped naked and strung up. It then skips forward and we see Marguerite sitting in a garden happy with her child. We’re then told she lived happily (well as happily as a woman could in those days) for another 30 years. So did we really need to see her in the garden? It’s not even mentioned on the wikipedia page for the film, that’s how unessential it is.

There are also a few moments I feel could have been longer (which in a film that’s 2 and a half hours long, is not something I thought I’d say). There’s a moment where a character essentially punches someone to death. The film cuts away just after he stops punching. Personally I’d have left it for a little bit longer so the full weight of the moment lingers with the audience, you would get a chance to sit and be truly f*cking horrified in what you’ve just seen.

That’s most of my criticisms of this film. They’re not “this film did this badly and it should feel bad”. It’s almost all personal preferences. All the flaws are “yeah that’s not right TO ME”. There’s one moment which I think exemplifies this. The rape itself. We first are aware of it from Jean’s POV, where he comes home and is told by his wife what happened. We see nothing. We then see it from Jacques’ POV, and it’s pretty clear that he did rape her. She’s a little bit more flirty than she is when we see the reality, but not enough that a normal person could justify it. That’s because we do see it. If the film stayed at looks which could be seen as flirtatious, made it so her looks back as she ran away had a more seductive air to them, then cut away as soon as the bedroom door closed, we would have a moment of ambiguity. We would wonder if it did happen as she said it, especially if they played up the pregnancy angle and made it seem like people would know the child isn’t her husbands. It would also mean that when we did see the truth, it would horrify us more. As it is we’re sitting there mentally comparing it to when we saw it play out earlier. We’re not lost in the moment, we’re thinking “okay, last time we saw this scene she stayed still, but this time she moved quicker”. Again, personal preference, and not a direct criticism of the film.

The way they this film is shown is unique, it’s really interesting to see how different people view certain events. There are a few moments where I would have liked to have seen from different angles but are restricted to just one. Not needed, but it would have been nice to get the truth about certain events we see.

It may be set in 1386, but there are some moments which are depressingly relevant in modern times. There’s a moment where people say that it’s impossible to get pregnant from rape, that a woman has to orgasm for pregnancy to occur. An idea that is, yes, woefully outdated, but also one that American lawmakers still believed in 2012, actually let me rephrase that: one that American dickheads still believed in two-thousand and fucking twelve because they’re cunts (for those asking why I didn’t censor that, but I did censor f*cking earlier I should clarify what the house style is for swear words: whatever I feel like at that particular moment is the rule).

So in summary, I feel you probably should watch this, but there’s a high chance you’ll be bored shitless. But you should admire parts of it.

BlacKkKlansman (2018)

This is a hard movie to review. It’s based on a true story, yet plays INCREDIBLY fast and loose with historical accuracy, not just slightly either, the year the film takes place is changed by almost a decade. Entire characters are invented for the purpose of the film, and some people have been made out to be a lot worse than they actually are (one of the fellow cops is portrayed as massively racist when in real life he was at worst incompetent) which is kind of bad when you realise a lot of people from this are still alive. That seems kind of mean, but it doesn’t affect how much I enjoyed this film. Well, I say “enjoy”, I didn’t really enjoy this, but I did like it a lot. I mean, yeah the pacing was a bit weird. It’s also very long, but it has a lot to say. This film gets you to ask a lot of very important questions about race, politics, and Steve Buscemi having a brother.

For those unaware: this is about a black police officer going undercover at the KKK. Seriously, that’s it, and it’s based on a true story, which is just as brilliant as it sounds. There’s a great moment in this which I KNOW really happened as I remember reading about it years ago: when the guy asked the Grand Wizard of the KKK (no, that’s actually what the leader is called, stop laughing) how he knew he wasn’t black, the Great Boy-Witch replied that black men pronounce letters and words a certain way.

I highly recommend seeing this film, the script is great, and the acting is just as good. I think it’s fair to say that it won’t be too long before John David Washington eclipses his father’s fame. Adam Driver continues to be incredibly good, and Topher Grace does his best to make David Duke somewhat likeable, in a role which definitely messed with his head. It seems like everybody in this film is at their best, Spike Lee really knows how to get great performances out of people. The writing is also really good, it would be so easy to make the KKK cartoonish pricks, but the script makes them seem like actual people. There’s a moment in the film where a member of the klan is lovingly embracing his wife as they discuss killing black people. In a way it’s kind of sweet, here’s a couple who clearly love each other, talking about what they love. It’s just a shame that what they love is being awful, awful people.

The main cause for my non-enjoyment was the ending. It had a great ending; an ending which is funny, completes the narrative and not the story (big fan of this as it means you feel the characters as existing outside of the film), and to the point. It then goes on, and on. It then starts to show modern klan rallies, the alt-right, and Hitler Simpson himself, culminating in people talking about the death of Heather Heyer, the young woman who was run over by a white supremacist/terrorist dickbag at a rally last year. It’s an incredibly poignant and sweet ending to the film, but it’s also really depressing as it makes you realise that whilst the klan itself are a relic of the 70’s, the attitudes and opinions they had are stronger today than I can ever remember (and they are, before you had Nazi’s as villains the reaction would be “bit cliche”, now it’s “typical leftie cuck SJW bitch. Making nazi’s look bad”).


It shocks you. It cuts you to the bone. But more than anything; it inspires the hell out of you. This is not so much a film, this is a fucking rallying call, to all those who oppose the shit-heap that the world is in danger of becoming. This will light a fire underneath all decent people, and it’s REALLY fucking disappointing that it’s needed. But it’s the perfect way to end it, it makes you realise the real danger that people like that pose to civility.