Synopsis: A pilot’s aircraft is hijacked by terrorists.
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Aylin Tezel, Omid Memar, Aurélie Thépaut, Carlo Kitzlinger, Paul Wollin
Director: Patrick Vollrath
Running Length: 92 minutes
TMMM Score: (7/10)
Review: For nearly a decade now, we’ve had an open and honest relationship here on this website. Though it’s often (ahem, always) one-sided, I believe I’m comfortable sharing with you some personal details from my life without fear of too much judgement. From the wacky to the relatable, you’re easy to talk which is why I think we can circle back to my favorite hang-up…flying. I’m a terrible flier and I don’t see that changing too much in the future. Love to travel, love adventure…hate the transportation getting there even though I find it a truly amazing feat of engineering with more than a touch of magic.
To add an even stranger wrinkle, while I’m known to white-knuckle it as a passenger, as a viewer there’s nothing I leap at with quite as much fervor as a film about flying the friendly skies. Give me a stewardess coming to the rescue and landing a jet in distress, just try and hold me back from a mid-air heist, and don’t even think about making me miss a Jodie Foster movie where her daughter vanishes on a transatlantic flight. So it’s easy to see why the new film 7500 appealed to me and why I thought it was going to be another run of the mill easy in/easy out round trips…turns out I should have kept my seat belt on for the entire ride.
The film takes off in Berlin with the crew of a flight to Paris readying the plane for boarding. The veteran pilot (Carlo Kitzlinger) gets to know his soft-spoken co-pilot Tobias (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Dark Knight Rises) in between their safety checks. It’s in these opening minutes that director Patrick Vollrath starts his claustrophobic push into the flight deck which is where we’ll largely stay for the next 80-some odd minutes. While I won’t spoil the gritty details of what happens after the captain turns off the fasten seat belt sign, shortly after take-off there’s an emergency involving an attempted hijacking that leaves the crew and passengers in a precarious position and Tobias at the controls. With only a small video monitor to communicate with the back of plane, he has to navigate his aircraft to safety while negotiating with forces that didn’t come to bargain.
I’ll be upfront and say the first hour of 7500 is tough on the nerves and pulls few punches. Vollrath establishes what I can only gather is accuracy in flight operations and maneuvers to establish the pilots with some authority…making what happens in the air and the following of protocols all the more tragic. Anyone with a fear of flying or in-air disasters should steer clear of this one because it’s got some whopper moments that will give you nightmares. If you’re game, though, there’s a nifty movie there with some real excitement we haven’t had for a while…even if it comes at the expense of feeling just a tad bit dated. What I mean to say is that I feel we’ve just gotten past the point of the fear that all Islamics are terrorists and the movie seems like it wants to make a point by steering the thoughts back in the opposite direction on purpose.
There’s some justification for this near the end and while I can semi-see where the rationale was, it doesn’t totally gel for me in the context of this particular film and what transpires throughout. Again, without spoiling any details I can’t say why the movie sort of sputters when it should be roaring into the landing but the final twenty minutes are unquestionably the low points that pander and when it becomes obvious that the script from Vollrath and Senad Halilbasic perhaps might have worked better as a stand-alone episode for an anthology streaming program. There’s just not the same level of excitement maintained here that there was in the first 2/3 of the film. Still, you only realize that after the movie is over…and it’s because you’re catching your breath after the true breathless thrill of the preceding hour. Absolutely worth the watch…but be prepared for a disappointing nosedive.