‘7500’ Review: Claustrophobia and Ethical Dilemmas on a Hijacked Plane


This exercise in opportunistic fear-mongering disguised as a thriller begins with shots from airport security cameras, arranged to let the audience see something that whoever’s monitoring those feeds would not. That is, the shady movements of a couple of men: one possibly of Arab descent, the other appearing to be a vintage European “football hooligan.”

Directed by Patrick Vollrath from a script he wrote with Senad Halilbasic, “7500” — which is streaming on Amazon Prime — then settles into the cockpit of its title flight, of a German airline. Its co-pilot, Tobias, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is American, and his girlfriend, Gökce (Aylin Tezel), with whom he has a child, happens to be the flight attendant on this outing.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be locked in a cockpit while rabid hijackers bang on its door with a fire extinguisher, this movie really delivers. The door-banging motif is interrupted by one or another horrific bloody incident, and supplanted in the last half-hour by a hijacker screaming himself hoarse.

The hijackers are Islamic terrorists. One imagines the brainstorming leading up to this decision: “Stands to reason.” “Maybe, but isn’t it obvious, lazy, and offensive?” “Nah.”

And of course these bad guys happen upon Gökce, who tries to bargain with them, suggesting a kinship when she reveals to them that she’s Turkish. This situation is supposed to present Tobias with a searing ethical dilemma, but mainly demonstrates it’s never a great idea to date a colleague.

One thing Vollrath does well is create a credibly claustrophobia-inducing atmosphere. Then again, when you restrict your camera to the inside of a cockpit, you’d have to be pretty incompetent not to.

Rated R. Door-banging, screaming, horrific bloody incidents. Running time: 1 hour 32 minutes. Watch on Amazon Prime.

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