All round good-egg Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Inception”, “Don Jon”) returns to the acting realm after taking a sabbatical to help look after his child and spend some time with his family.
He returns in the tense, Amazon Studios made thriller 7500 which is both written and directed by Patrick Vollrath (“Ketchup Kid (Short)”, “Die Jacke (Short)”).
7500 is the radio code that a pilot can give to let those on the ground know that the plane has been hijacked. It is in the event of hijackers getting into the cockpit and the pilot needing some way to let others know without screaming into the microphone.
As Tobias (Gordon-Levitt) sits down alongside his pilot, we learn that his girlfriend is also on board as a flight attendant, the mother of his son.
This short flight from Berlin to Paris is straight forward enough, some bad weather, but otherwise, no dramas. That is until one of the flight attendants knocks on the door of the cockpit to bring the pilot and co-pilot some drinks, and a bunch of men rush the door.
Tobias manages to subdue the first attacker, but not before he’s inflicted some life-threatening injuries to the pilot. He lets the ground know what’s happening and they decide on a flight to Hannover, the closest airport.
Outside the cockpit, where we never venture, the rest of the attackers continuously attack the door and eventually bring up a passenger and threaten to kill him unless Tobias opens the door. He doesn’t.
You can guess who the attackers select next to bring up to the door. Whilst this is going on, Tobias uses the phone to communicate with the youngest member of the attackers Vedat, Omid Memar (“The Collini Case”, “Tatort (TV)”).
After many twists and turns, we end up with Tobias and Vedat in the cockpit and it isn’t fully clear what’s happening outside the door, but it doesn’t sound good.
There are a good few twists and turns in 7500 as well as a few eye-rolling moments. Vollrath makes us watch some scenes for an uncomfortably long time, think Family Guy, but this ends up being a stroke of genius.
All of 7500 is well-thought out; from the complete absence of music throughout, to the claustrophobic nature of us being trapped in the cockpit with Tobias throughout. We only get out when he does.
Gordon-Levitt is brilliant in the role, a quiet man who goes through his checks whilst flying in order to take his mind off the melee that’s occurring outside the door, just a few metres away from him.
But it is Memar who really shines. He plays the 18-year old Vedat with a sincerity that oozes through the screen. He’s scared, and you can see it, shouting because he doesn’t know what else to do, and this is what hijackers do, right?
7500 won’t be for everyone, and a couple of cliched moments mean it isn’t ‘the best thing ever’, but Vollrath’s choices in direction and sound make for an uncomfortable watch, in a good way.