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7500 Movie Review

There's an eerie stillness that escorts us into "7500," director Patrick Vollrath's feature debut, and it is unsettling more than calming. The film's opening moments are completely silent as we watch security footage from a Berlin airport. People are going about their day, hurrying to their flights like it's any other normal day at an airport. Things quickly change for those on the flight from Berlin to Paris.
Once we board the plane, we meet American co-pilot Tobias (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). He, along with the pilot, are preparing for take off, and the early moments of "7500" feel like we are living through the mundane routine of the characters' lives. The monotony is being used effectively for the audience to feel quiet tension starting to rise. As viewers, we know what kind of movie we are getting into with "7500," but Vollrath uses the quiet moments as a well-constructed build-up to the eventual action.

Around the 18-minute mark of the 92-minute movie, two men rush the cockpit and try to take control of the plane. Tobias does his best to fight them off with limited resources and ends up getting hurt but manages to keep them out. As he tries to assess the situation and decide his next course of action, he watches the terrorists on a monitor threaten the passengers. They are constantly banging at the door of the cockpit, which is another useful tool in creating an anxious environment.

"7500" is a well-paced thriller, and Vollrath and cinematographer Sebastian Thaler make good use of keeping the movie's action entirely in the airplane's cockpit. The limited space provides a claustrophobic atmosphere and really places us in the middle of Tobias' fight to keep the plane in the air. Once the initial takeover occurs, the chaotic panic induced by the sequence of events is fueled by Gordon-Levitt's strong performance as a pilot who feels entirely helpless.

The movie starts to lose steam - and a lot of the previously built tension - when we begin to learn the motives of the terrorists. At that point "7500" shifts from a successful exercise in minimalism to something far more familiar. The movie introduces us to the youngest of the hijackers, Vedat (Omid Memar), and there are brief moments of depth regarding his character and involvement but it feels hurried and, ultimately, surface-level.

More than anything, the movie serves as a calling card for Vollrath (an Oscar nominee for Best Live Action Short Film for the movie "Everything Will Be Okay") because there is plenty of talent on display as he steps into features. The main problem with the film is that it starts so strong but can't sustain itself through the final act. Still, there's enough reason to recommend "7500" for another movie night at home.

"7500" will debut on Amazon Prime on June 18th.
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