“Please, report your emergency.”
“We have a 7500.”
Some may describe traveling in an airplane as flying in a tin can. And while my joy for flying abruptly left halfway into my first flight, I can’t say I’ve had a “fear” of flying. But whether you’re deathly afraid, or not afraid at all, being on a plane in a life or death situation is a terrifying thought. Amazon’s newest film, 7500, is the textbook definition of an “edge-of-your-seat” thriller. Though I believe the film wasted an opportunity in calling it, “Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Stuck in a Cockpit” the film leaves no stone unturned in preying on our fears of flying.
The film begins as a normal evening as the crew gets ready for a flight from Berlin to Paris. Young American pilot, Tobias Ellis (Gordon-Levitt), and the Captain of the flight, go through the protocols before takeoff. Nothing is out of the ordinary — except for the foot that keeps opening the curtain between the staff area and the passengers of the plane. Then in an instance, as a stewardess brings dinner for the pilots, two radical Muslim men charge the cockpit —one making it inside— stabbing the Captain and Tobias. Tobias fights off the men, and beats one unconscious. Now with the use of only one good arm, Tobias must bring the plane down for an emergency landing in Hanover. But what seems like an easy 20 minutes until he can finally land the plane, Tobias must now deal with the situation of the men banging on the cockpit door, the passengers’ lives, and the tragic repercussions that come with his decisions.
Director Patrick Vollrath’s ambitious, 7500, is one of the hardest films, that I believe, you can make. It’s centered on one person, and one set. There’s no cuts to Tobias’ family as they find out he’s the pilot on a hijacked plane. There’s no cut to air traffic control as they give instructions on what what he should do. There’s no deep, emotional flashbacks involving a love-interest. 7500’s narrative is almost “play-like”. The film’s cockpit confines only amplify the uneasiness of claustrophobia and anxiety — feelings that deeply envelop its audience. But as far as that may go, the restrictions to the film’s one place, causes the film to drag a bit – especially towards the end. I say especially at the end, because Gordon-Levitt’s performance as Tobias, injects life into the majority of the film. He gives us some of his best work by perfectly illustrating the magnitude of Tobias’ fear, grief, and professionalism.
7500’s story is a bit controversial. We can go on to say that the racial profiling of Muslim terrorists is a bit played out, derogatory, and bordering on discrimination. But that aside, the problems with the film come from the predictability in Tobias’ character. I can only compare it to a character in a horror movie that makes some terrible decisions, only to put themselves, and others, in danger. There’s a moment in the film when the terrorists are beating the door, yelling for Tobias to open it. Tobias, instead, makes an announcement that the plane will make an emergency landing in Hanover in about 20 minutes. By Tobias showing his hand to the men on the other side of the door, one of the men goes to get a flight attendant, and threatens Tobias to not land the plane, or she will die. I’m not educated on the protocols that pilots must follow in a hijacking situation, but I’m sure telling the terrorists that the plane is making an emergency landing is not something a pilot should do.
7500 isn’t without its flaws, but it isn’t a bad film either. It’s well-shot, and the cinematography by Sebastian Thaler, makes the film nice to look at. With a great performance from Gordon-Levitt, and an intense story, 7500 is a decent source of entertainment when looking for that intense thriller.
Directed by: Patrick Vollrath
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Omid Memar, Aylin Tezel, and Carlo Kitzlinger