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Film Review: 7500

Director:    Patrick Vollrath

Cast:    Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Omid Memar, Ayilin Tezel, Carlo Kitzlinger, Murathan Muslu, Paul Wollin

Rating:     MA

Running Time:     93

Australian Distributor:     Amazon Prime


“7500” exploits the danger that some feel every time we fly that the aircraft will be hijacked.  7500 is the emergency call sign for exactly that situation.

To stand out from the others, new movies on that theme try to be different in some way. “7500” does this by taking place in a claustrophobic place that has room under normal conditions for just a pilot and first officer.   

The opening scene is strictly preparation for a flight from Berlin to Paris, just 530 air miles, seemingly too short for would-be terrorists to do what they have to do, though that may depend on just what the bad guys want.  At first we don’t know, but as things turn out neither does one of the three extremist Islamic, at least one and probably all of Turkish ethnicity living in Germany.

Similarly Vedat (Omid Memar), one of the three desperadoes, has no idea that taking the plane down and killing the crew and all passengers is the motive for avenging the deaths of Muslims in the hands of Westerners.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Tobias Ellis a co-pilot on a German airliner deeply in love with his girlfriend who coincidentally is one of the stewardesses on the flight. Sitting in the cockpit with the pilot as the passengers board he chats away as they prepare for take off for their flight to Paris.

It’s well set up with the pilots watching the CCTV of the area outside the cockpit door as the stewardesses draw a flimsy curtain between them and the passengers as they chat on the intercom phone. It’s a static shot but its banality has an ominous and uneasy air about it.

What should be a normal run of the mill flight without incident is quickly disrupted when two Muslim terrorists burst into the cockpit shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ fatally stabbing the pilot and seriously injuring Tobias.   

The terrorists on 7500 seem to access the cockpit all too easily. But Tobias manages to force one of the terrorists out whilst the other one lies unconscious on the floor.

The action is set entirely in the planes cockpit with Tobias doing his best to keep the terrorists from taking over the cockpit and it’s all too apparent what their intentions are.  With its single location it’s really Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s film as the co-pilot now in charge of the plane trying to deal with the terrorists and that the fate of the passengers is in his hands.

Director Patrick Vollrath, veteran of eight shorts, takes off with his first narrative feature film, one which shows that this German filmmaker is destined to be in the director’s chair for a number of thrillers to come. He makes the smart move of eschewing music in the soundtrack, preventing us from being distracted by anything but the noise of the bad guys outside the cockpit pounding on the door

I really enjoyed the creativity of the camerawork.  The confined space of the cockpit adds to the claustrophobia and tension before it reaches its unsurprising climax. But at 93 minutes 7500 has a strong first half even if it slightly runs out of steam by the end.




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