'7500' Movie Review: The Anti-Hollywood Hijacking Action Movie

7500 refers to the air traffic control code for a hijacking. Shortly after takeoff from a Berlin airport, the flight is taken hostage and Tobias (Gordon-Levitt), the copilot, and the captain fend off the attackers from the cockpit but not before injuring the two pilots. Following protocols, Tobias refuses to open the door to the hijackers and sets course for an emergency landing, but the attackers are threatening to kill each passenger if he doesn’t comply with their request. It’s the ultimate test of his life.

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t enjoy movies set in one locale and want high-flying action than 7500 may not be for you. The film starts in the cockpit and ends just outside the cockpit doors. The suspense and tension is two-fold because of the dark and claustrophobic setting. He watches the hijackers as they pound on the door on the video monitor above the controls. All the action outside the cockpit is seen through the grainy black and white image on the cockpit monitors. The stakes are even higher when his fiancé, a flight attendant on the flight is threatened if he doesn’t open the door.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 7500 Amazon movie

While the plot is not an original one, the approach is. The fighting scenes are messy and realistic for tight quarters like a cockpit. The characters are every day people with no special skills or law enforcement training, hence the stakes are higher.

Even if the action is low-key, the suspense and tension isn’t. Instead of outsmarting the hijackers or planning an elaborate rescue like in a Hollywood movie, the Academy Award®-nominated director takes a more subtle approach. Tobias pleads with one of the young hijackers who seems to have second doubts about his mission. They form a bond that will mean life or death.

German director Patrick Vollrath gained attention after his short, EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY was a critical hit at Cannes and it went on to earn him an Oscar® nomination for best live-action short. The short is a moving story that appeals to the emotions. Watch it here.

His follow up, 7500, is a big undertaking not in scope but shooting in such a confined space. The claustrophobia feeds that anxiety especially when there is no where to go during the struggle for the plane. The emotions feel real and raw.

In an interview with the writer/director, Vollrath told CineMovie the actors and camera were improvised with long takes that often lasted 30 to 40 minutes at a time. That may attribute to the reason why the film flowed very well with heightened emotion escalating over time.

While some may complain the Middle Eastern hijacker is a stereotype, Vollrath humanizes the young German-Muslim man for a different perspective on the subject. The inspiration came from a news story, according to the director. However, the other assailants are one-dimensional. What’s different, however, is that you don’t know they’re Muslim until late in the movie when one of them chants 'Allahu Akbar.’  Before then, we can assume they are of Middle Eastern descent even though they’re speaking German. So it may play to that stereotype, but the intention is to show the humanity of one extremist which was different.

7500 is an entertaining film that will have you on the edge of your seat for 97 minutes. 7500 is now streaming on Prime Video.

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