REVIEW: 7500 is a tense psychological thriller that draws you in with a compelling lead performance


Director Patrick Vollrath presents us with a nail-biting real-time film with a tremendous lead performance by Joseph Gordon Levitt.

In airplane emergency signaling, the code for an airplane hijacking is 7500. Director Patrick Vollrath illustrates what such a scenario could look like in his namesake feature directorial debut, 7500, premiering on June 18th on Amazon Video. 7500 stars Joseph Gordon Levitt in a largely international cast as Tobias, a first officer working a short European flight with his stewardess girlfriend Gökce (Aylin Tezel). As Tobias and his captain Michael (Carlo Kitzlinger) go through their pre-flight checklists, they commiserate about their life, make decisions on excess baggage and whether to wait for some lagging passengers and all seems well. That is, until shortly after takeoff, as a group of terrorists force their way into the cabin to attempt to stage a highjacking armed with homemade knives made of sharpened glass. It is here that 7500, kicks into a high-gear, a taut psychological thriller with real stakes told in real-time that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

In many ways, 7500 reminds you of films like 2002’s Phone Booth or 2013’s Captain Phillips, both in the real-time aspect of the film and in trying to find a realistic and peaceful approach to end the highjacking. Gordon-Levitt’s Tobias feels like a real person in a real dire situation and its his performance which grounds the film and gives it its gravitas. The hijackers want to force their way into the cabin and start to take hostages to prove they’ll do whatever it takes to get their way and you feel the depths of despair as Tobias must decide to balance individual lives over those of the entirety of the plane’s passengers. Given that the film is all largely set in one room, it still has real scope and the peripheral characters we meet, especially Omid Memar’s Vedat, feel as if they have a real-life outside of this film. They’re not one-dimensional Islamic stereotypes, as Vedat has doubts in dying in a hijacking and wants to go how no matter what. Similarly. Gordon-Levitt’s Tobias is placed in several impossible situations and reacts as many humans would act if this really happened, not in some UnderSiege meets Die Hard folly that would quickly lead to his death. We empathize with him and its Vollrath’s focus on him as the heart of the film that makes it work, along with specific choices like a minimalist score only used during the film’s credit sequence.

If you’re a fan of grounded realistic film thrillers, 7500 is meant for you. Gordon-Levitt summons the best of his performances from films like Inception into this part and it is very heartening to see Amazon Studios pick up a small character-driven international film like this for distribution on their platform. 7500 is a film well-worth your time.