The film has been directed by Patrick Vollrath, an Oscar nominee for his 2015 short film Everything Will Be Okay. 7500 stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a commercial airline pilot stuck in a hijack situation.
The film derives its title from the air traffic control code for being hijacked. The single-setting, minimalist film features little other than Gordon-Levitt in the cockpit. 7500 reminds viewers of Sully, Flight, and United 93.
1. Quick Review
Set on a flight bound for Paris, Tobias (Gordon-Levitt) climbs into his cockpit seat. He sets about running through pre-flight procedures.
With his lunch comes a hijacker, who stabs him and his co-pilot. It is up to Tobias to fly the plane and ensure no harm upon any passengers.
A brief prologue and 7500 never leaves the cockpit of a passenger plane. Vollrath fully explores the possibilities of a single location. He traps the audience in a confined space from which the wider drama plays out.
2. Is it worth watching?
Austrian screenwriter Senad Halilbasic’s commitment to a real-time narrative is commendable. However, there is little character development till the very end of the film. This makes the characters feel like pawns instead of people.
7500 gradually morphs into a psychological two-hander between Tobias and Vedat (played by Omid Memar), the youngest of the hijackers. He is coerced by his elders into an action he doesn’t quite understand. The teenager proves to be the hijackers’ Achilles Heel.
Crafting a story set in a claustrophobic cockpit could have potentially been the film’s biggest limitation. However, it emerges as quite the opposite with Sebastian Thaler’s cinematography and Hansjörg’s editing.
Tobias Ellis (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the co-pilot of a Paris bound aircraft. The film opens with him chatting with his flight-attendant girlfriend Gokce (played by Aylin Tezel) about their two-year-old son.
He and the captain, Michael Lutzmann (played by Carlo Kitzlinger), go through pre-flight procedures and order lunch.As their lunch arrives, two men rush through the door with knives and stab both pilots. A fight ensues.
Tobias pushes out Daniel (played by Paul Wollin) and knocks out Kinan, the second hijacker (played by Murathan Muslu). He steadies the plane, alerts air traffic control, and performs CPR on a wounded Michael. Tobias is left to fly the plane one-handed and handle the hijacker in the cockpit.
He tries to talk the other hijackers out of hurting any passengers or flight attendants. What follows is a harrowing and unnerving dramatization of a flight being hijacked. Tobias is forced to make choices about passengers lives for the sake of the greater common good.
II. Music & Visuals
The music director of this film is Tyler Bates. He is an American musician, producer and film score composer. He composes largely rock sound tracks for his works and also scores video games.
He has previously worked on films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Sucker Punch, and the John Wick franchise. He has also won the BMI Film Music Award for his work in Watchmen, 300 and Californication.
There’s not much score in the film, other than a sparse end-credits piano piece. Sound editor Daniel Iribarren adds a musique symphony from the ambient noises of the aircraft and the distant commotion of the attack.
Cinematographer Sebastian Thaler makes powerful use of handheld cameras. He maneuvers dexterously around the action in the cockpit. He combines claustrophobia with a tense and shaky tone to make the most of the cramped conditions.
In the end, however, it feels more like a gimmick than a study in filmmaking restrictions or an actor’s showcase. With little character development and parallel plotlines, the cinematography and visuals cannot save the film.
3. Final thoughts
The introduction of Memar’s character helps Vollarth sidestep the jihadist clichés that have been an offensive but widely used film trope. With a racial war at hand, the Islamophobic representation of Muslim people ought to be stopped in today’s day.
Another cliché is the reiteration of the colored terrorist and white savior trope. The story falls short when reasons for the violent attack are never provided. It is high time to realize cinema does not have any space for perpetuating racial or religious stereotypes.
7500, unlike Sully, is not a recreation of a real life incident. However, it is still an unsettling watch. For those who enjoy a mild adrenaline rush, this Amazon Prime Original proves to be a satisfactory entertainer.