The Movie Waffler New Release Review [Amazon Prime Video] - 7500 | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [Amazon Prime Video] - 7500

7500 movie review
A young co-pilot finds himself at the controls of a hijacked passenger plane.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Patrick Vollrath

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Omid Memar, Murathan Muslu, Carlo Kitzlinger, Aylin Tezel

7500 movie poster

One of the greatest sleight of hand tricks pulled on cinemagoers by Hollywood marketing departments can be found in the hugely successful Airport series of the 1970s. These films were marketed in a way that sold them as grandiose epics, packed with more stars than the heavens above. Audiences were promised giant spectacle. What they inevitably got was a series of glorified TV movies whose action was largely confined to a cockpit. Still, the series tapped into viewers' fears of the many ways a jaunt in a big metal bird might go wrong, be it hijacking, engine failure, or even getting stuck on the ocean floor.

7500 movie review

The marketing for the Amazon Original 7500 adopts an entirely different tactic to that of its '70s predecessor, highlighting the fact that its action is confined to a cockpit, making that the draw in itself. There's something about a storyteller setting themselves a challenge that always appeals to us, and we've seen recent examples of just how much drama you can mine from a single actor in a confined setting (see Ryan Reynolds in Buried or Tom Hardy in Locke).

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The actor here is Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He plays Tobias, a young American co-pilot with a German airline. Onboard his latest flight is a stewardess (Aylin Tezel) who happens to be his girlfriend and the mother of his two-year-old son. Also onboard are three hijackers, one of whom manages to barge his way into the cockpit and incapacitate the pilot before Tobias knocks him out cold with the blunt end of a fire extinguisher. Now left in sole charge of the flight, Tobias recalls the one vital command every pilot must adhere to in a hijacking situation - don't let the hijackers in the cabin! But as the hijackers start killing the passengers, and with the woman he loves in danger, will Tobias have the nerve required to do the right thing?

7500 movie review

For its opening 30 minutes or so, 7500 is a nerve-shredding thriller. Director Patrick Vollrath and Gordon-Levitt do a good job of putting us inside the mind of Tobias, making us wrestle with the moral dilemma he faces. But then the film does something which completely deflates the tension. I won't spoil it by revealing the specific incident, but it made me think about Hitchcock always said that if you have a ticking bomb in your film, you should never let that bomb go off. He was referring to a "mistake" he made in his 1936 film Sabotage, that of having a bomb go off and kill a child. Hitchcock figured that after witnessing the death of a child, the audience would no longer be able to invest in the fate of his film's central protagonists. I understand what he means, but I think he's wrong in using Sabotage as an example, as while we tend to care more about children than adults, in this case it's a kid we don't know from Adam. The same applies to the murder of the young girl in John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13. Yes, it's a horrific incident, but as she isn't related in any way to the film's protagonists, we can still empathise with their specific plight. In 7500, however, Vollrath has something occur which means that halfway through, the stakes have been entirely removed. From this point, nothing worse can now possibly happen to 7500's protagonist, so we're left to worry about the fate of the 85 passengers onboard. Problem is, we haven't been introduced to a single one of these people, so why should we care?

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Gordon-Levitt delivers a fine performance, but I just couldn't buy Tobias's reaction to the film's metaphorical "bomb" going off. He reacts like he arrived at McDonalds five minutes too late to order from the breakfast menu, rather than someone who...well, I'm not going to spoil it.

7500 movie review

The hijackers are a generic bunch of Islamic fundamentalists, though oddly the most vicious of their number is a white skinhead. In a case of wanting its stereotypical cake and eat it, 7500 gives us one young hijacker, Vedat (Omid Memar), who just might turn against his fellow terrorists. The movie's now tension free final act is essentially a ham-fisted two-hander play as Tobias tries to reason with the out of depth hijacker, descending into the territory of sermonising about how not all muslims are terrorists. In this way 7500 feels like a relic from the previous decade, when Islamic terrorism was the primary threat to the West. In recent years most acts of terror have been perpetrated by white Christians, and even that wave seems to have passed, with the next threat most likely posed by that curious group known as "eco-nationalists"; you know, those nuts who don't believe in climate change yet have somehow convinced themselves that "the bankers" (ie the Jews) are using 5G to melt our brains. If Tobias had one of those whackos in his cockpit he'd be in an entirely different predicament, as there's simply no reasoning with those psychos.

7500 is on Amazon Prime Video now.

2020 movie reviews