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Review: '7500' (2020) Dir. Patrick Vollrath

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Aylin Tezel, Omid Memar, Carlo Kitzlinger, Murathan Muslu and Aurélie Thépaut


Patrick Vollrath makes a bold feature-film debut in the fictional story of a mid-air hijacking told from a very different point of view...

Departing from Berlin Airport, Captain Michael Lutzmann (Kitzlinger) and First Officer Tobias Ellis (Gordon-Levitt) prepare their plane, welcome passengers and depart for Paris.

Once air-borne, the plane his hijacked by terrorist Kenan (Muslu) and his accomplices. However, Lutzmann and Ellis manage to secure the cockpit whilst the hijack begins.

With time running out, it falls to the actions confined within the cockpit to define the outcome of the hijack and the fate of the crew and 85 passengers onboard... 

Bringing you into the airport from the start through ghostly CCTV images, director Patrick Vollrath in his feature film debut lays his simplicity down from the start. At only 90mins, this is 90mins enough for the close-quarter cinematography, the claustrophobic set of a cockpit and minimial cast who you're with straight away make this a perfect formula for an intense, well-played out thriller.

20mins in following an immersive technical departure, the action begins and it comes from nowhere, and with no soundtrack or score, it is left only to the actors and the close-quarters camerawork to play out the drama and suspense. A brave decision for a debut feature film, but one that works and is a refreshing take on the hijack genre, one now ever so grounded in stark reality following September 11th 2001.

With 95% of the action shot within the cockpit, it's left to the ever capable and talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt to be our sole companion,

The haunting and ever-present threat of the terrorists can't be forgotten for a second. The diegetic noise of the airplanes engine acts as an undercurrent to the drama, and you hear the muffled shouts, cries and conversation from outside and see only what the CCTV sees in its narrow, black and white view.

A real-time relationship between pilot and terrorists unfolds via on-board communication, and we see how each one is motivated and how human they are in doing what they are doing. But with each unfolding moment and acts of desperation, while it comes over as the most extraordinary situation, it makes for often uncomfortable and always tense viewing with nothing except escalating noise, emotion and dialogue until the end.

While the ending does leave things with a little idealistic conclusion to events that may or may not be for everyone, this is however a piece of entertainment and not based on fact as a narrative, but technically is spot-on.

The film belongs to Gordon-Levitt, a great actor who convinces you in his role as a pilot, partner and father but keeps everything as natural as possible in a solid drama.

'7500' is a MMC Studios / FilmNation Entertainment production

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