7500 (Amazon Prime)
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tobias Ellis,Omid Memar as Vedat
Directed by Patrick Vollrath
Rating: *** ½
Straightaway, 7500 –which is the aviation code for being hijacked—joins the ranks of the best mid-air crisis films, namely Neerja, Airforce One, Passenger 57 and 7 Days In Entebbe. I also recall being riveted to my seat watching the films in the Airport series in the 1970s. Nothing more reassuring to the ground-level non-traveler than to know that he wasn’t on that plane when it happened.
7500 revives the era of those tense taught suspenseful airborne thrillers of yore where the catastrophic flight swore you off travelling for at least six months.
7500 is shot by cameras which penetrate right into the cockpit making us privy to the crisis. There were many moments in 7500 where I found myself holding my breath, waiting to know what will happen next.
There are two USPs in this clenched hijacking drama: the cockpit setting and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Remarkably the drama doesn’t move out of the cockpit. In that cramped space Gordon-Levitt’s pilot Tobias Ellias plays a game of life and death with a bunch of misguided jannat-bound fools.
The important thing for Tobias is to not open the door of the cockpit as the terrorists(armed with glass knives!!) try to break down Tobias’s resistance by threatening to kill the passengers one by one.
The tension that director Patrick Vollrath constructs in the cockpit is almost unbearable. There is no place to breathe in the tiny cabin. And yet we can feel Tobias’ rising panic as the terrorists pound on the door.
While the narrative sustains its moment very effectively for the first hour of playing time, the last half hour gets on shaky ground when the youngest and most callow terrorist onboard Vedat(Omit Memar) joins Tabias in the cockpit. Predictably they begin talking and predictably again, the curse of terrorism is humanized when Tobias tells Vedat about his personal life.
I almost expected to see the two actors embracing and sobbing on each other’s shoulder. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the kind of actor who would never allow his character to go emotionally berserk. Struck one place Gordon-Levitt fosters the heroic attempts to save passengers with a kind of dramatic tension that gives us a frightening glimpse into the heroism that emerges from crisis.
The entire mood of ominous tension is created through incidental sounds and noises of panic!!
See the film for Levitt. But more than he, see 7500 for whipping up a thriller that won’t let you move. There is just no room for it.