All of “7500” takes place within the small confines of a cockpit. Considering this film was made for just $5 million, doing so probably kept costs down. It also brought the tension up.
The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tobias, a co-pilot for a German airliner just leaving the airport. Joining Tobias in the cockpit is the Captain Michael (Carlo Kitzlinger), who’s the older, more experienced of the two. Meanwhile, working as a flight attendant is Tobias’ girlfriend Gökce (Aylin Tezel).
Tobias is a little stressed, as he and Gökce are house-hunting, but otherwise it seems like a routine flight. That is until the airplane is subject to a hijacking attempt. Tobias manages to keep the hijackers out of the cockpit and announce Code 7500 to air traffic controllers to let them know of the situation, but the terrorists begin taking hostages, making the situation tense.
At just an hour and a half, “7500” works as a short, consumable thriller. The movie is all about one man’s fight for survival, and it captures this by showing Tobias’ quick thinking and the different measures he takes to restore order. Watching Tobias have to balance communicating with air traffic control while keeping the hijackers out of the cockpit is genuinely entertaining and suspenseful.
For the most part, “7500” stays engaging by having the situation become more dangerous, as hostages are threatened and Tobias has to attempt negotiating.
With that said, it is noticeable that “7500” starts to run out of narrative steam in the third act. When the tension starts to wind down, the movie just doesn’t have enough depth to its story to make the final 20 minutes or so as engaging as the previous hour and 10.
Some of the turns the story takes along the way do push the suspension of disbelief just a bit too far as well.
With that said, while there are flaws that pull things down a bit, they don’t sink the movie. What does remain consistently good, and help to make the film as a whole above average, is Gordon-Levitt.
There have been a few films all about one man trying to survive in a dangerous situation, such as James Franco in “127 Hours” or Matt Damon in “The Martian.” What this movie more reminded me of, though, was Tom Hanks in “Captain Phillips.”
Gordon-Levitt really nails the lone person trying to overcome a precarious moment. His character is frightened and emotionally charged by the situation going on around him. However, he’s also resourceful and committed to landing the plane despite himself being injured. Gordon-Levitt captures all of this really convincingly,
Overall this is a short but satisfying work of suspense. For what it sets out to be, a small-scale thriller, it works well enough.
It’s not the type of suspenseful drama that carries more political or social intrigue, and the story is limited, but the intensity that comes from the concept itself carries it a long way, especially since the talent behind and in front of the camera does solid work in bringing the situation to life. 3.5 out of 5.