Over the years, there have been numerous films about planes and hijacking. Most of them focus on the heroism of a ‘one-man army’ sort of personality, who is usually an ex-soldier or has one or other forms of training to tackle the situation. They also have antagonists who are just the worst guys who need to be defeated at all costs. There is a clear line demarcating the good from the bad, and the audience knows exactly what to feel about whom.
These movies can be rather fun to watch because of their action and thrill, but they are also very distant from reality. If, unfortunately, you ever find yourself in a situation such as this, you would know better than to hope for a Bruce Willis sort of character to save the day, and this is what Patrick Vollrath’s ‘7500’ focuses on. With minimal characters, it is set inside a box that only seems to get smaller as the time passes by, and that’s what makes it such a compelling watch.
7500 Movie Plot
It is a usual day at work for Tobias. He is to serve as a co-pilot to Michael, as they fly the plane from Berlin to Paris with a lot of passengers on board. Tobias also has his girlfriend serving as a flight attendant on the plane. Everything is normal and routine as they take off. We stay with Michael and Tobias inside the cockpit, so we remain as unaware of the chain of events happening outside as them. Things take a bloody turn when three people use a flight attendant to force their way inside the cockpit. It turns out that the plane has been hijacked. When Michael is wounded, it becomes Tobias’s responsibility to land the plane safely. The only thing he has to do is not to open the door to the cockpit under any circumstances.
7500 Movie Review
‘7500’ comes and goes in waves. It is immensely nail-biting at times, a feeling that it doesn’t forget to compensate with comparatively relaxed moments that allow us to breathe easy for a while. The film stays consistent in this ebb and flow that works in its favor as the audience only grows more anxious after every scene. What comes next? You are left guessing on every turn and the fact that the film packs so much in such a small window of time is a testament of just how great it is.
It also makes wise use of the small space in which most of its action takes place and this is where Vollrath’s direction shows its prowess. The camera is in continuous motion and it is always close to the protagonist who is confined in the cockpit, which also keeps the audience in these cramped quarters. There is just one door out of there, and Vollrath emphasizes on the claustrophobia by continuous beatings at the door, which not only unnerves the protagonist but also the audience.
‘7500’ could have been a disaster. It would have been something else in the hands of a lesser director and it would have been an absolute mess if it wasn’t for its lead actor. Joseph Gordon-Levitt channels his everyman persona to make us immediately like Tobias and appreciate him all the more for his heroism in the face of unimaginable adversity. He never lets go of the emotions of his character and effectively communicates the weight of his role to the audience.
Another great thing about the movie is how it doesn’t forget to tend to its villains. The terrorists mostly remain on the other side of the door, just like the passengers. The assailants as well as the victims are kept at a distance from the audience, so we don’t know them enough to judge them for more than what appears to us. Vollrath keeps that veil between us, which reminds us of our TV sets. Isn’t that how we generally see the acts of terrorism play out?
The writer-director uses this keen sense of direction to show the audience that intimate knowledge of something or someone can lead to some shift in your perspective. This is how he manages to keep it thrilling while also infusing it with depth and emotion. Sounds are also used to enhance these feelings and give them an added layer which only lures the audience further in.
Despite all this, the film does slack here and there. The contrast between the sudden moments of excitement and the pauses where it slows down a bit gets bigger as the time passes and you feel the grip loosening. If you can look past this minor flaw or not encounter it at all, the film proves to be a roller-coaster ride.
Read More: Best Airplane Hijack Movies of All Time