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“7500” Is A Tense Ride With Joseph Gordon-Levitt At The Controls

Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn’t generally who you think of as an action hero. Sure, he’s been in some action-centric pictures, but he’s more someone you pinpoint in other genres. While you might think of that as a negative when considering that he’s the lead in 7500, it’s actually a massive compliment, as Gordon-Levitt is one of the reasons why this dramatic thriller comes off as well as it does. JGL is incredibly believable and realistic here, as is the production on the whole. From the visuals to the pacing and plotting, it all follows far more of a docu-drama path than an action one. There’s far more of Paul Greengrass in this DNA than anything else, which lends it a gravitas, for sure. Coming to Amazon Prime Video this week, prepare to have your expectations upended.

The film is a drama, mixed with some thriller elements, focused on pilot Tobias Ellis (Gordon-Levitt) and his response to a flight he’s co-piloting being hijacked. Initially, it seems like it’s going to be any other day for Tobias, a younger American co-pilot, working with an older pilot in Michael Lutzmann (Carlo Kitzlinger). They make small talk with each other, run through the preflight checklist, prepare for takeoff, and just go about their jobs. Tobias even finds time to talk with flight-attendant Gökce (Aylin Tezel), who also happens to be his girlfriend and the mother of his young child. Not long after takeoff, however, a small band of terrorists storm the cockpit, attempting to gain control of the aircraft. Armed with makeshift weapons, they injure both pilots, but are temporarily fended off. As Michael deals with a more serious wound, Tobias alerts the ground, beginning a stand-off that grows more and more intense by the minute. Once the terrorists begin threatening to kill passengers, things move to a whole other level, testing Tobias in a way he could never prepare for. Patrick Vollrath directs and co-writes here with Senad Halilbasic, while Sebastian Thaler handles the cinematography. Supporting players include Omid Memar, Murathan Muslu, Paul Wollin, and more.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt slips into this unlikely hero role with surprising ease. Filmmaker Patrick Vollrath saw in him an everyman role that really pays off, instantly investing you in the character. Gordon-Levitt never appears imposing, instead using his mind and his training to do his best to maintain an upper hand. The intensity with which he tackles the part is palpable, resulting in one of his best turns, to date. Especially with Gordon-Levitt in almost every frame of the film, acting of this caliber was required, and he was more than up to the task.

7500 is, at its core, a nail-biting character study. Only 92 minutes long, it lives and dies on your investment in Gordon-Levitt’s character. Luckily, while Vollrath doesn’t necessarily flesh out the part too much, the visual element of the movie is truly on point. His direction, the production design, Sebastian Thaler’s cinematography, it all feels real, making you feel as thought you’re right there in the cockpit. The realism is really what sets this apart from the pack, at the end of the day.

This weekend, anyone expecting an action flick out of 7500 is going to be disappointed. However, if you go in looking for a tense drama, one with a strong performance from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, then you’re in for something quite good. JGL is complicated, flawed, and human here, not generally how you view heroes in terrorism movies, but it works to this one’s advantage. Definitely give a look to this one, especially if you’re a fan of his. This is a really interesting film, from his work on down.

Be sure to check out 7500, on Amazon Prime Video starting on Thursday!

(Photos courtesy of Amazon Studios)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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