Directed by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods (the creative geniuses behind “A Quiet Place”), “65” is about the humanoid inhabitants of a planet called Somaris. They partake in interplanetary travel for research purposes, and Mills (Adam Driver) is one of the many pilots who handle those kinds of missions. Mills is married to Alya (Nika King), and they have a terminally ill daughter, Nevine (Chloe Coleman). Since Nevine’s treatment costs a lot of money, Mills takes a lot of interstellar trips to make sure that she stays healthy. The movie opens with Mills preparing to go on a journey that’ll take two years. However, his ship runs into an unexpected asteroid belt, and the damage caused by the meteors sends it hurtling down into an unknown planet. Soon after that, we get a pretty neat title reveal, which turns into an expository scrawl and a location text because it reads: “65 million years ago, a visitor crash-landed on Earth.”
Major Spoilers Ahead
What Was Mills’ Plan And How Did Koa Change It?
When Mills’ ship crash-landed on Earth, the report showed that every single one of the passengers who were in cryostasis had perished. And when he saw the dead bodies strewn all across the damaged ship, and he wasn’t sure if the distress signal was going to reach his home planet in time, he actually wanted to die. As in, he recorded a message asking for help, deleted it, and then sent the message in which he stated that nobody should even attempt to recover them. Then he proceeded to put his gun to his mouth and shoot himself. Now, initially, it seemed that he stopped himself from doing it because he wanted to go back to his daughter. But, eventually, it became clear that Nevine was already dead. She died after Mills left Somaris. So, when Mills put the gun to his face, he literally didn’t have a purpose to live, and he thought that a rescue mission for him alone was futile. However, when he realized that there was another surviving crew member, he found a reason to stay alive.
Instead of trying to kill himself again, Mills decided to find an escape pod. He knew that the cockpit end had nothing usable in it. But he hoped for the tail end of the ship to have something in it. He located it nearly 15 kilometers away from the place he was presently, which meant that he and Koa (Ariana Greenblatt), the only other survivor, had to hike all the way to that spot while tackling dinos and various other prehistoric creatures (that may or may not be scientifically accurate). The problem that Mills faced, in addition to the dinosaurs and weird insects, was that Koa didn’t speak English because she was from a different region of Somaris. So, explaining the plan to hike and then climb the mountain to the rest of the ship was difficult. However, Koa’s inability to understand what Mills was saying allowed him to tell her the lie that Koa’s parents were alive and on that part of the ship on top of that mountain so that she’d be motivated to get there. And, well, it worked, and they set off on their journey through the perilous landscape.
What Are The Obstacles Mills And Koa Face On Their Way To The Escape Pod?
Mills nurses a wound on his abdomen throughout the trip to the escape pod. On the way, Koa and Mills come across wild berries, a very sticky insect, and a dinosaur stuck in a tar pit (which seems to be a reference to the movie “Land Before Time”), and they struggle to connect because of their inability to communicate properly. But while stopping to get some water, the duo manages to break the first layer of their language barrier when Mills allows Koa to put a flower in his hair. That counts as the best use of Adam Driver’s brilliantly beautiful locks. Sadly, that moment of happiness doesn’t last long as Mills dislocates his shoulder while trying to recalibrate his mapping device, and then they are attacked by a group of vicious dinosaurs. Koa manages to fix Mills’ shoulder in time so that he can use his gun and explosive devices to chase those dinosaurs off. The whole experience traumatizes Koa very much, thereby forcing Mills to make yet another pitstop. It’s only after Koa calms down that Mills decides to continue their hike.
Around the midway point of the film, as Mills sets up a perimeter in a cave and watches an old clipping of Nevine’s, it becomes apparent that Mills sees Koa as his daughter, and Koa sees Mills as her parental figure. It’s just that Mills knows that Nevine is dead, and Koa doesn’t know that her parents are dead. But this little scene quietly sets up the possibility that if these two make it out of Earth, Mills can adopt Koa, and they can be a family again. It’s a nice way of making you root for the protagonists in an incredibly plain “get from point A to point B” type of movie. However, since it’s customary to puncture any moment of serenity with danger, “65” takes a dark turn as a parasite tries to make its way into Koa’s body. That’s followed by a Tyrannosaurus Rex-like thing chasing them into a cave. While trying to escape from that cave, Koa and Mills get separated. That causes Koa to fend for herself (well, thankfully, she had the Mills’ explosives with her) and Mills to fight off a dinosaur in that cave. On top of all that, while reuniting after that horrifying affair, Koa saves Mills from drowning in quicksand!
’65’ Ending Explained: Is Mills Able To Escape From Earth With Koa?
There’s a ticking time bomb element to “65,” which is both incredibly simple and yet pretty smart. I mean, the element should be pretty obvious to all of us after the reveal that the story is taking place in prehistoric Earth. But the movie still occasionally hints at it. So, when Mills explicitly states that what’s coming from them is the extinction-level asteroid, it kind of feels satisfying. Anyway, Mills and Koa make it to the ship. Even though Koa realizes that her parents aren’t alive, she understands the sentiment that Mills sees her as his daughter, and he wants to make sure that she gets home. So, she embraces him, and the two of them prepare to launch off into space. However, that’s interrupted by the falling meteors and three whole dinosaurs. Mills decides to sacrifice himself so that Koa can escape, and he lures the last one, after killing two of them, to the hot water geyser field. When that doesn’t work, Koa comes to the rescue, and the two of them finally make it out of there alive while the infamous asteroid destroys everything on the face of the Earth. A timelapse through the credits shows the evolution of humankind, and that’s it.
From a purely narrative point of view, and as mentioned before, “65” is about finding a family in an apocalyptic scenario. Mills has lost a daughter, and she finds one in Koa. Koa has lost her parents, and she finds a father in Mills, and hopefully she’ll accept Alya as her mother after returning to Somaris. Although it seems like Mills is going to be the one to keep Koa alive, she ends up being the reason for Mills’ will to survive. If you watch the movie with that in mind, every single beat has so much weight to it, which is only amplified by Adam Driver and Ariana Greenblatt’s amazing performances. In addition to that, the movie substitutes complexity with simple setups and payoffs. For example, the asteroid belt ends up being a symptom of the planet-killing meteorite. The geyser belt ends up saving Mills and Koa as it kills the dinosaur that almost killed them in that cave. The bone that Koa poisons is used to blind that dinosaur, who has already been blinded by Mills. The proximity sensor device is used for the fight scene between Mills and the slimy-looking dinosaur in the dark cave. So, all in all, it’s a neat little film. It won’t be anything memorable. But it’s certainly worth a watch.