Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Omid Memar, Aylin Tezel
Director: Patrick Vollrath
Running Time: 92 mins
7500 is a German film about an aeroplane pilot who fights off an attempted hijacking on board, but must make a series of devastating decisions in order to help the whole plane land safely.
This is a thrilling film. It’s simple, it’s contained, but 7500 stuns with nail-biting twists and turns, along with gripping dramatic depth that lends more to its story than simply heart-stopping excitement. Bolstered by impressive directing, cinematography and performances, it’s a fantastic watch right the way through.
For a film with such a simple premise, there really is a lot to talk about with 7500. Above all, its style, pacing and cinematography are what really give it that urgent, nail-biting edge.
Starting from a place of relative normality as we watch passengers board the plane, the film at first gradually unfolds before rapidly turning into something a lot more intense as hijackers break into the cockpit.
From there, the story develops as a tense and ruthless battle of wits as First Officer Tobias Ellis (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has to find a way to land his plane safely, all the while staving off fresh attacks from hijackers in the cabin.
That sudden increase in pace after the opening ten minutes or so is electrifying to say the least, and it only continues to snowball into something even more intense, peaking about halfway through with a number of heart-stopping sequences that I could only watch peering through my fingers.
It’s not a scary film in the conventional sense – the violence here is realistic and appropriate, and it’s not a sensationalist depiction of a plane hijacking – but the emotional and dramatic themes that the story raises are frightening.
From the First Officer’s devastating moments of decision-making to the brutal reality of a hijacker’s mentality, 7500 looks in depth at how people deal with intense and urgent situations, delivering a story that demonstrates natural human reactions to such circumstances with captivating emotional resonance.
That dramatic intensity is only heightened by the film’s ingenious cinematic style, which sees the camera never leaving the cockpit all the way through the film. In that, there’s not only a terrifying sense of claustrophobia that becomes more and more potent through the film, but also a feeling of removed helplessness from the wider situation.
The First Officer is left stranded in his cockpit trying to bring the plane down while hijackers wreak havoc in the cabin behind him, yet we never see what actually happens back there, leaving us to imagine only the worst along with the increasingly exasperated pilot.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s blend of assured experience and passion brings so much to the role, giving us a safe pair of hands that we believe will be able to bring the plane home in one piece, but also just emotional enough to teeter on the edge of losing his cool at the most intense moments.
In that, 7500 really pushes all the right buttons for a great thriller. It’s an exhilarating watch that provides nail-biting twists throughout, particularly during its ruthless, heart-stopping middle act. Beyond pure thrills, though, the film offers up striking dramatic depth even in its slowest moments, providing a riveting exploration into the human psyche in moments of crisis. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.9 overall.