Film Review: ‘7500’ Is A White-Knuckle Hijacking Drama
— Scott Baumgartner
When it comes to films about terrorism, it’s tempting to provide a preponderance of context exploring the lives of the attackers and the victims, thoroughly illuminating motivations, split-second decisions and, of course, the devastating loss in these tragic events. This is not the road Patrick Vollrath chooses for his feature directorial debut, 7500.
Early on, we meet American co-pilot Tobias Ellis (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) just as he and Captain Michael Lutzmann (Carlo Kitzlinger) are prepping for a flight from Berlin to Paris. However, soon after the plane takes off, the flight attendants and passengers are overrun by a small group of terrorists brandishing broken glass. One even gets inside the cabin. With the pilot injured, Tobias is forced to take control of the situation, which involves using every tool at his disposal.
Following the opening credits, the viewer joins Tobias in the cockpit — and never leaves. The entire ordeal is experienced through the co-pilot’s eyes, his anguished decisions and his fight for survival (and that of the passengers) is rooted in Gordon-Levitt’s commitment to the harrowing role.
In an instance like this, the entire endeavor sinks or swims depending on the central actor’s ability to convey the unthinkable cavalcade of emotions assaulting an Average Joe struggling to remember their training as horrors erupt around them. And, in this regard, Gordon-Levitt is equal to the task. He captures the steely pragmatism and heartbreak at the center of this very human story — all the way to its nerve-jangling conclusion.
Some viewers might find the bare-bones ferocity of 7500 jarring and unsatisfying, my advice is to give yourself over to the concept, which doesn’t even include a score. Vollrath seeks to place you on Gordon-Levitt’s shoulder for this ordeal, creating a perspective on terrorism that almost no one witnesses. It’s intimate and immersive and deeply affecting. 7500 is available to stream on Amazon Prime.