Thursday, June 25, 2020

Movie Review: 7500

7500 ** / *****
Directed by: Patrick Vollrath.
Written by: Patrick Vollrath and Senad Halilbasic.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Tobias Ellis), Passar Hariky (Kalkan), Omid Memar (Veda), Hicham Sebiai (Hopper), Paul Wollin (Daniel), Murathan Muslu (Kenan), Aurélie Thépaut (Nathalie), Aylin Tezel (Gökce), Cornel Nussbaum (Peter), Carlo Kitzlinger (Michael Lutzmann), Denis Schmidt (Ramp Agent Mario), Mario Klischies (Bremen Radar - voice), Simon Schwarz (Alexander Franz - voice).

7500 is another attempt to make a movie in a confined space, with one major character, and still be intense. Basically, the entire movie takes place inside a cockpit of a passenger plane during a high jacking. Its main character is Tobias (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the co-pilot – an American on a German flight to France, a choice made apparently to add to his confusion, as he doesn’t speak the other languages (which is odd, when you consider what little we know about it is that he has a girlfriend, and a child, they are raising in Germany). The film tries to ratchet up the tension after the hijacking commences – when three terrorists try and break into the cockpit, one succeeds, stabs the pilot, before Tobias is able to knock him out cold, and slam the door shut. The other terrorists then start banging on the door – and threatening to kill the passengers one at a time if he doesn’t open the door. Because his girlfriend, the mother of his child, is one of the stewardesses, it, in theory, adds to the tension.

Yet, oddly, 7500 is never all that intense. The darkened cockpit doesn’t offer much room to move around in, and yet never develops the sense of claustrophobia you may be expecting. For such a simple narrative, it’s also somehow too busy at the same time. We are introduced to too many different characters that just aren’t that interesting – the pilot, Tobias’ girlfriend, and eventually two of the terrorists – a true believer, and Veda (Omid Memar), who will eventually become the second part of a two-hander with Gordon-Levitt in the final act – as he starts to question everything that they are to do on that plane.

Gordon-Levitt is a talented performer – and in his first role since 2016’s Snowden, he does what he can with the material. There just isn’t much there to play. The film mainly tries to play out in real time, but there just isn’t much there to make things very interesting or intense. Co-writer and director Patrick Vollrath never quite finds the right notes to play – the right atmosphere, or tension.

Planes can, of course, be great locations for thrillers – from the legendary Twilight Zone episode to Wes Craven’s wonderful Red Eye, to the real life thriller of United 93. Those film use their confined spaces to great effect. Here though, there is simply a bland sameness to every scene – visually the film has nothing to offer, and everything else is so paper thin that 7500 never really gets off the ground.

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