“7500” — a film review by Gary Chew
I don’t want to come on like a Luddite, but a newly released film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt sort of tells you… if you want to know… why I seldom travel out on commercial jetliners much anymore. 7500 is the flight number of a plane on which Gordon-Levitt is the co-pilot or second officer.
It’s been my experience that just checking through security is enough to make me find other means of conveyance. But after you sit and witness what kind of night Tobias Ellis (Gordon-Levitt) has flying out of Berlin, you might want to join me in taking a car or bus.
Before it even becomes clear what the plot really is, it thickens a good deal. Tobias has something going with one of the Stews; that sets up on the cockpit door threshold. Then the first officer arrives and tasks Tobias to help getting the ship airborne. The captain is played by Carlo Kitzlinger.
Little do we in the audience know, then, we’ll be in that cockpit, too… for the rest of the film… uh, and the flight. 7500 has a real-time sense going for it as did last year’s 1917 and the fully-aged and mighty motion picture Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)… truly, one of the best titles ever conjured.
Although 7500 takes a heading something different than the tragic disappearance of the yet to be found MH-370, or even the horrific, deliberate aiming of jets into skyscrapers on 9-ll, we sense this fictional flight on a chilly night out of Berlin can only be a rough ride for all aboard.
From the vantage of the cockpit door, director Patrick Vollrath gives only a glimpse of the passengers’ cabin as they board and are greeted by the stewardesses. Action ensues only a few minutes after the plane is wheels-up. There are three men, armed with pieces of glass that they’ve shaped into knife-like instruments. Security scans don’t pick such stuff up, apparently. Gulp.
Time is consumed primarily with one or two of the assailants banging on the door that separates them from the pilots. The small TV screen showing just outside the cockpit is where most of those actors do their performing. It looks quite realistic, particularly as they drag up certain innocents in the back of the craft and demand the pilots let them (the hijackers) in… or the passenger(s) will have a slashed throat in short order.
You may wonder where these religious zealots are wanting to be taken, instead of the planned flight to Paris. I certainly did. But then, whoops… big surprise… these weird guys are on a suicide trip. Gulping again.
Serious hand-to-hand and claustrophobic combat ebbs ‘n’ flows in the nose of the plane. Bloodletting… serious wounds and even death… oh, I can say no more. Tough stuff, but it kept my attention, even though I sort of predicted what would happen. The film could’ve been slightly shorter, as some of the scenes of action seemed to go on forever; and those, when the tension eases, feel stretched a smidgen to give an approximate ninety-minute roll for the feature.
The message of most importance to be derived from 7500, it seems to me, is: when you have some folks on the planet who give over their responsibility for what they do or commit to an entity they worship and “take orders from,” then commandeer planes full of innocent people just trying to get to grandma’s for Thanksgiving, it’s enough to make me not want to go to any airport anywhere, anymore , unless I need to pick up grandma as she comes in on the flight from her house… which is just over the river and through the woods.
Since I started taking air transportation, things have really gone into a nasty dive.