“7500” is the code for an airplane highjacking and the title to the new Amazon Prime original movie, starring Joseph Gordon Levitt. “7500” is meant to keep you in high altitude, with tension as the entire film is confined to the 747’s tiny cockpit. I say if you thought an 8 hour plane ride in those uncomfortable chairs were torture, wait till you spend 92 minutes with this thriller that doesn’t thrill, nor does it even have the power to take off. German filmmaker Patrick Vollrath, never introduces us to the passengers as he keeps the cast to only about 7 or 8 actors. Vollrath, promises to give us something different than the usual action-hero theatrics and puts considerable weight and relies everything on star Joseph Gordon Levitt, to carry the film through. His performance is the only thing keeping “7500” up in the air and even remotely watchable. Gordon Levitt and the films highjackers (who don’t feel threatening and take over an entire plane with just broken pieces of glass as weapons) are one-note and don’t have many nuances to latch on to. “7500” nose dives and loses what little altitude it had, in it’s final act. The film is short, to the point, simple and not very suspenseful or thrilling for a supposed thriller. A truly disappointing flight.
Movies set in a confined space, such as an airplane have been a backdrop for many thrillers and action movies, for decades. Then it all came to a halt when the events of 9/11 happened in 2001. Once studios felt it was safe to bring back the genre without being insensitive to the victims and families of 9/11. A slew of films was released like Paul Greengrass “United 93” and Liam Neeson’s “Non-Stop”.
“7500” is the code for an airplane highjacking and the title to the new Amazon Prime original movie, starring Joseph Gordon Levitt. In the tradition of the “confined space” thriller, Amazon Prime’s new original film does nothing new for the genre. While Joseph Gordon Levitt flys high with his performance, the film itself doesn’t achieve the high altitude it should be for a thriller.
“7500” is a one room, mostly one man show. Your locked in for 92 minutes inside the cockpit of a 747. Within intimate quarters with Tobias, a young first officer (Gordon Levitt) who must land the plane back to safety once the aircraft is hijacked by a group of Islamist terrorists.
Once were locked inside the cockpit, what we cannot see past the fortified door is up to us to imagine. As German filmmaker Patrick Vollrath (makes his English-language debut), Vollrath never introduces us to the passengers (the cast only consists of about 7-8 actors), which keeps us emotionally disconnected from them. We only get interaction through a small monitor screen in the cockpit, showing two of the passengers who end up being threatened by the terrorists.
No one can get in, but Tobias is forced to make some excruciatingly difficult and heartbreaking choices when those two travelers are threatened. Does he open the cockpit door and risk losing everyone? Or does he keep it closed and endanger a few that is of little or no emotional significance?
That’s what’s different about “7500”, is that Vollrath, promises something different than the usual action-hero theatrics (“Passenger 57”, “Air Force One”). It’s an airplane thriller that doesn’t use the entire airplane as their playground and instead keeps the movie’s action entirely in the tiny airplane cockpit. That makes this a pretty easy role for Joseph Gordon Levitt, who left the Hollywood radar to raise his kids. His last feature was Oliver Stone’s 2016’s thriller, “Snowden” and before that a series of films to turn him into a studio A-lister in films like “Inception”, “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Walk”.
Vollrath, puts considerable weight and relies everything on Gordon Levitt to carry the film through. His performance is the only thing keeping “7500” up in the air and even remotely watchable. The first 30 minutes are fairly dull as Tobias chats with his fellow pilot (the captain of the plane) about matters that have nothing to do with the plot and are there to just give him somewhat of a small background. Both Tobias and the Muslim terrorists are one-note and don’t have many nuances to latch on to.
Things somewhat pick up from there when the hijackers attempt to bust into the cockpit. While I’m sure it’s a whole different situation if i were stuck in a similar real situation, but as film wise goes. The highjackers don’t feel very threatening, especially that there is only three of them holding an entire 747 hostage with only three pieces of broken glass as weapons.
Part of what is supposed to be the films nail biting thrills, is to watch a man summoned to make one life or death choice after the another. Tobias is a man in a physical and mental lockdown, forced to watch as his life crumbles on the cockpits CCTV footage of the highjackers. Seeing Tobias make a decision, is a pressure-cooker of responsibility and ethics.
Omid Memar as is Vedat, an 18 year old hijacker whose internal struggle becomes a catalyst for the final act. While his motivations are under written, the back and forth between him and Tobias flips the cockpit power structure in an interesting way. Unfortunately it causes “7500” to lose what adrenaline it had.
By the start of the final act, the script hits autopilot and makes a rough landing. “7500” ends up churning out your habitual set of hostage thriller tropes, from the discovery of a common ground between victim and assailer to the predictable, last minute phone call from loved ones back home.
This is probably the most boring plane ride I’ve ever had. It’s more numbing than having to sit in those uncomfortable airline chairs for 8 hours. Vollrath just doesn’t give himself a lot of options by keeping the action focused in a single contained location, especially one as small as a cockpit. “7500” is short, to the point, simple and not very suspenseful or thrilling for a supposed thriller. A truly disappointing flight.
GRADE: ★☆☆☆☆ (1/5)