7500 Movie Review: Joseph Gordon-Levitt saves the day, and the film
Debutant filmmaker Patrick Vollrath creates a promising backdrop that lets us ease into the discomfiting premise
Many of us are feeling cramped -- courtesy the lockdown – with many fantasising about their next vacation. 7500, the film, shows you why the comfort of your home is probably better, as opposed to its premise of an injured pilot locked in a claustrophobic cockpit, thousands of feet up, as terrorists try their best to bring down the only door that is between them both.
Director: Patrick Vollrath
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Omid Memar, Murathan Muslu, Aylin Tezel
Streaming on: Amazon Prime
Post 9/11, there's been a whole host of films about plane hijackings. While most of these films focus on the trauma of the passengers and flight attendants, 7500 sets itself apart by concentrating on a co-pilot, Tobias Ellis (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) apart from the highjacker, an 18-year-old confused Vedat (Omid Memar). The 92-minutes film isn’t about fancy long shots across the length of the fuselage to capture emotions of occupants; it’s about plain capturing of the emotions and actions of two individuals who wish they aren't in the situation they find themselves.
Debutant filmmaker Patrick Vollrath creates a promising backdrop that lets us ease into the discomfiting premise of 7500. The opening sequence, framed from the view of security cameras that adorn the walls of the Berlin International Airport, shows how the passengers are scrutinised assiduously -- a major topic of discussion post 9/11. Ellis is accompanied by his girlfriend Gökce who happens to be a flight attendant in the same doomed aircraft. Right before takeoff, the couple discusses a trivial matter involving their son to which Ellis replies, "This isn't a disaster." Little does he know.
The film, like the flight in a sense, starts smoothly and reaches a high when one of the hijackers manages to sneak into the cockpit and mortally wound Ellis' experienced co-pilot. This sets a series of events in motion as Ellis, who is also stabbed with glass shards, has to save himself, while trying to save the hostages who begin to killed one after the other. His task also is to calm the rest of the petrified passengers, engage in a discussion with the hijackers to smoothen things, and all the while, also steer a flight single-handedly (literally). We learn as much as Ellis does -- through the voice of a local air traffic controller via his headphones, a telephone that connects Ellis with the hijackers, and a single-angled video camera that shows what is unfolding outside the door. Vollrath maintains a sense of urgency and tension, with the eerie music adding to the claustrophobia, despite the flight being in the clouds.
Gordon-Levitt is great as the soft-spoken, yet level-headed, individual who can rise up to the occasion. The second half of the film though, falls into lots of familiarity, as the dynamics between Ellis and Memar fail to surprise us. The script resorts to cliches from several popular hostage thrillers. By the time we have a landing, the film too comes down from a nail-biting thriller it originally promised to be. Had the writing been consistent, 7500 would have made for the sort of intriguing watch it promises originally, but a spirited performance by Gordon-Levitt still saves it somewhat.