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7500

Jun 20, 2020

An expert thriller that combines the dread of air travel gone wrong  with very tight cabin space.

7500

Grade: B

Director: Patrick Vollrath

Screenplay: Vollrath, Senad Halilbasic

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon)

Runtime: 1h 32 m

Rating:R

By: John DeSando

“Hijacking before 9/11 and hijacking after 9/11 mean two very different things.” Condoleezza Rice

Anyone aware of the possible mishaps of air travel knows from 9/11 that hijacking is about the worst possible scenario. New director and co-writer Senad Halilbasic have crafted 7500, which depicts in painful realism the overtaking of a German shuttle between Berlin and Paris. With 85 passengers, the plane has a heavy human load.

The safety checks for takeoff by young first officer, Tobias (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), are mundane but nonetheless ominous because we know what the film is about. Adding to the forthcoming anguish, a flight attendant, Gokce (Aylin Tezel), is Tobias’s fiancé, with whom he shares a child.  It’s not difficult to guess the role she will play in the vicious negotiations to open the cockpit door.

In a lack of creative casting, the Islamic terrorists are mostly Arab with the vague notion of using the flight as retribution for Western sins. Much more imaginative is Vollrath setting the majority of the action in the cockpit, creating a claustrophobic dread as if we were witnessing the opening of a casket.

The camera is almost always on Tobias as he flies the plane (the captain is dead) and struggles physically and mentally with the terrorists. Levitt is dexterous and sympathetic as a character given the moral choices inherent in losing lives to save lives. Also, he must stop the terrorists and save the plane. Because they want to crash into a populous area, Tobias has even more heavy lifting.

Although the action is limited to the cockpit, it’s a thriller that relies on the built-in tensions of flight after 9/11. No minute is dull because humanity’s safety is at stake.  Just don’t show this thriller to someone who has never flown, or better, has no notion about the evil men do.

While streaming this tense thriller from the comfort of your home, be aware that when you fly, all comfort, physical and psychological, may not arrive with your baggage.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at JohnDeSando62@gmail.com.