Film Review: ‘7500’ (2019)

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Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Omid Memar and Aylin Tezel
Director: Patrick Vollrath
Distributor: Amazon Studios

“You’re in control.”

Terrorists try to take over a plane. Your partner is on board. You’re the co-pilot. What do you do? 

Straight out of the textbook of 90s action thrillers, 7500 marks the return of, not only outdated concepts, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s proper return to the screen. The actor whose early 2010s career prime features a strong body of Inception, 50/50, The Dark Knight Rises and Looper, provides the performance of a lifetime in this cockpit thriller, now available for streaming.

Starring as co-pilot Tobias Ellis, Gordon-Levitt’s subtle everyman character is tasked with, literally, one of the worst possible scenarios in his profession. An unthinkable series of events. A Berlin flight intended for Paris, quickly turns to pain when a small group of terrorists ram the cockpit armed with taped pieces of glass, and intent to cause mayhem. From turbulence to trauma, only a secure door separates good and evil. 

Never could one expect a familiar plot or story to genuinely feel so fresh and importantly, intimidating as hell. Set almost entirely in the cockpit, the heated claustrophobia adds fuel to a great fire in the most intense of situations. Gradually, the nerve shattering intensity experienced by Tobias is later shared with the spectator of this film, almost to the extent of the viewing being uncomfortable. The subject matter and events that occur are both difficult to deal with, and to hard to comprehend if occured in the real world. 

7500 succeeds in being able to present itself in a realistic fashion. Minus a handful of graphic occurrences, the film can be regarded as being slightly simplistic throughout, however, there is instead the enabling of a character study to be witnessed. A pure character-driven film. Tobias’ actions and vulnerability does establish an everyman feel to the character, which is aided in the main body of action being experienced in real time, or close to, at least. The spectator is on numerous occasions placed in Tobias’ position, whether it’s to be liked or not. Cliche, of course, but there is an overwhelming discourse of “What would you do?” throughout. Thanks to Patrick Vollrath and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the spectator is consistently engaged to the max.

As far as terrorist-hostage-takeover films go, 7500 is a lifetime away from competing with the likes of Die HardUnder Siege and Executive Decision etc. Of course, 7500 is more simplified in concept and doesn’t attempt to be a gigantic action powerhouse, yet there is a rawness and grittiness present that simply cannot exist in the big hitters listed above.

Ultimately, writer-director Patrick Vollrath has created a magnificent non-spectacle spectacle, even without many conventions of the terrorist-hostage-takeover concept. If anything, outside of the deadly intensity, is to be disliked, the villains – portrayed as Islamist Turks – may seem either cheap or predictable. A career-defining performance from Gordon-Levitt, one that sees him quite clearly grown up and distanced from his 2010-12 career prime, does manage to overshadow any faults with 7500.

A film that deals with Murphy’s Law, and is named after the transponder code for an aircraft hijacking, 7500 is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

4 Stars


For John.

This article’s featured image: By Source, Amazon Studios, Fair Use

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