by Kyle Arango
There is always a sense of uneasiness that comes when we go on a plane whether we want to admit it or not. We are 32,000 feet in the air with nothing beneath us to prevent us from falling. Every last shift or shake just sends shivers through your bones and leaves a chill. Now what if instead of technical problems or outside factors, terrorists decide to hijack the plane you are on? That is the question 7500 is trying to answer. A new film seemingly out of nowhere that feels like it fell asleep at the wheel and woke up in 2020.
7500 follows Tobias (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a pilot ready to do yet another flight from Berlin to Paris. It seems like today is just going to be the same as always with a safe takeoff and landing where afterwards him and his girlfriend can take their son on a vacation. Suddenly terrorists hijack the plane while the door to the cockpit is open. Commotion happens and suddenly Tobias finds himself locked in the cockpit with a knocked-out terrorist, an injured co-pilot, and a plane full of endangered passengers. I will not lie that I found this film to be very exhilarating. Once the action starts it is as if the film never let’s go until the end. The problem is that there really isn’t much going on. The entire film takes place in the cockpit and you can only see what is happening in there and through a small camera that can see just outside the door. This is a very claustrophobic due to this choice and it helps create that sense of uneasiness. There is constant banging at going on from the terrorists trying to get in the door and that combines with the small space to create paranoia. It lasts for a little while, but eventually the novelty wears off and it can’t quite take itself to the end. I thought we were almost done and there was still 30 minutes left. With a film that is only 90 minutes long, that is not a good sign.
It also needs to be addressed that the terrorists on the plane are, you guessed it, Islamic terrorists. This concept feels fifteen years too late and the whole scare people had towards the Muslim religion felt like it was finally going away. So why are we bringing this back again? We remember 9/11 and United 93 every year, this just feels unnecessary and misguided. Are people still hijacking planes, and how do terrorists sneak broken glass onto a plane in 2020? Makes no sense.
What does work is Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the lead. What happened to this guy? He is one of my favorite actors and then suddenly he disappears from Hollywood and pops up on a plane in this movie a couple years later. He is awesome in this role as the pilot trying to navigate this situation. What helps so much is that he does everything we would’ve thought of. You ever sit during a movie and say to yourself “I would do this” and the characters never do? Not in this movie. Tobias is very capable and relatable due to Gordon-Levitt doing all he can to inject personality into this character at the worst time of his life. That is how Gordon-Levitt has always been as an actor whether as a cancer patient in 50/50 or Edward Snowden. He takes characters who could be very bland and makes them fully realized. Without Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this role, this film would completely crash.
7500 is a noble attempt at a large thriller on a small scale that just can’t quite get itself to the finish line. The gas has run out 2/3’s in and Joseph Gordon-Levitt has to get out and push this plane to the finish. It is a nice little experiment in enclosed filmmaking, but there is nothing you take away from it once it all is finished.