Written by: Patrick Vollrath
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Omid Memar, Aylin Tezel, Carlo Kitzlinger, Murathan Muslu
Being in the cockpit of an airplane means having control of an aircraft carrying hundreds of people possibly to a destination. It comes with all of the pressure of holding the lives of the people aboard in your hands. Having all of that stress can be its own issue, but add in a potential terrorist takeover, and then it spawns into its very own thing. 7500 expresses just that by creating a claustrophobic environment in the ultimate high-stress situation.
Preparing for a routine flight from Berlin to Paris, Tobias (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) gets set for liftoff with his co-pilot. As the plane lifts the ground, they open their locked cockpit door for food delivery from the stewardesses when they get rushed by a group of men looking to take over the plane. While able to close the door, Tobias needs to figure out how to land the plane safely as these terrorists try to bring it crashing down.
A nightmare scenario for many, 7500 displays efficient and minimalistic storytelling in such an effective manner in the way the story unfolds but also how it gets visually captured. With all of it taking place within the cockpit of the plane, the story stays with the character of Tobias for the entire runtime. For safety purposes, the cockpit doors are locked from the inside, which serves to stop any attacks on the pilot like what the terrorists attempt to do in this feature. It creates a bubble of protection and safety for Tobias to land the plane, but with a camera view of just outside the door, he must contend with the terrorists trying to break down the door and using hostages as efforts of persuasion.
During the attack, his co-pilot gets stabbed with glass, which the terrorists used as weapons, which means Tobias must do all of it by himself. The stress of normally flying must have its own issues, but this situation really takes the cake of horribleness and the film eloquently presents it. The only view of what occurs outside of the cockpit appears in a monitor showing just on the other side of the door and the moments get intense as the terrorists threaten to kill passengers if the door does not get opened. A tough situation but he has a duty to the rest of the passengers to refuse entry into the cockpit at all costs. The only form of communication he has comes from the radio with the air control tower trying to help guide him where to land. The conversations Tobias has with the person in the tower serve as a way for him to process everything going on as well.
Certainly, a tumultuous time for Tobias and the film’s claustrophobic feel certainly assists in creating this amount of dread. Being locked into the cockpit brings a level of security but it also leaves him powerless to help the passengers in need. His duty comes before all in ensuring the terrorists are denied entry but having to stand by while these men mercilessly kill passengers surely must be horrifying to sit through and 7500 puts the audience right in the room with Tobias as he experiences it all. He gets put through the wringer emotionally, which gave Joseph Gordon-Levitt a nice tidy showcase to demonstrate his pure acting ability.
The film’s success lies directly on his shoulders and he makes sure to deliver on the workload provided. Gordon-Levitt goes through a range of emotions from the calmness of the beginning to the gut-wrenching moments of trying to keep his composure for the sake of the passengers while severely being impacted by the events occurring right on the other side of the door. He does well in those calm moments where it shows the specifics of what it means to get a plane ready for liftoff and the procedural nature of this work. It demonstrates no matter how much danger a position has due to varying factors, everyone has aspects of their job, that must happen in a clockwork manner. A pilot has the added level of excitement and stress because their mistake can cause the death of many people, but with ten years of service on the job, Tobias has got it all down.
Brief but very effective, 7500 signifies a specific code indicating an attack on the plane internally and it shows the horrific situation Tobias must navigate. Nothing comes easy in this film, as the solution is quite obvious in landing the plane in the next possible airport but the situation continually changes within the plane as the terrorists get more desperate. The claustrophobic feel assists in creating a palpable tension where things will get catastrophic if the protagonist does not stay with his A-game. A strong and enjoyable feature overall and one to watch for a quick thrill.