Unknown to us but 7500 is the emergency call sign for a plane that’s being hijacked – it’s a bit of a meaningless film title for anyone that’s not a pilot and we originally thought it was the number of Father’s Day cards Boris Johnson receives each year. Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Tobias Ellis a co-pilot on a German airliner deeply in love with his girlfriend who coincidentally is one of the stewardesses on the flight. Sitting in the cockpit with the pilot as the passengers board he chats away as they prepare for take off for their flight to Paris.
It’s well set up with the pilots watching the CCTV of the area outside the cockpit door as the stewardesses draw a flimsy curtain between them and the passengers as they chat on the intercom phone. It’s a static shot but its banality has an ominous and uneasy air about it. And so what should be a normal run of the mill flight without incident is quickly disrupted when two Muslim terrorists burst into the cockpit shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar!’ fatally stabbing the pilot and seriously injuring Tobias.
Almost 20 years after 9/11 and flight security ramped up to the max where the next level of safety would seem to be flying naked on a transparent aircraft and the terrorists on 7500 seem to access the cockpit all too easily. But Tobias manages to force one of the terrorists out whilst the other one lies unconscious on the floor. It’s not the sort of excitement anyone wants on their flight and if it was Ryanair it wouldn’t be a surprise if they tried to charge the passengers for it claiming the incident was in flight entertainment.
7500 if one of those single location films set entirely in the planes cockpit with Tobias doing his best to keep the terrorists from taking over with the terrorists ramping up the stakes in their efforts to get into the cockpit and its all too apparent what their intentions are. With its single location it’s really Joseph Gordon Levitt’s film as the co-pilot now in charge of the plane trying to deal with the terrorists (their repetitive beating on the door is a constant reminder that they might burst in at any moment) and that the fate of the passengers is in his hands. Directed by Patrick Vollrath a young German director with a number of short films behind him – one of which was Oscar nominated but 7500 is his first feature film which he has also written. It’s not without its problems – an increasingly reluctant young Muslim terrorist doesn’t hold true but the confined space of the cockpit adds to the claustrophobia and tension before it reaches its unsurprising climax. But at 93 minutes 7500 has a strong first half even if it does run out of new ideas by the end.
Here’s the 7500 trailer………