Thursday, June 18, 2020


Streaming today (rather than Friday, out of respect for Juneteenth)...

7500--Many thrillers are called Hitchcockian, but this German/Austrian/US production truly qualifies; after the opening minutes, it unfolds both in real time like Rope, and in a confined space like Lifeboat. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Tobias, the co-pilot of a jetliner flying out of Berlin. A few minutes into the flight the cockpit is stormed by terrorist hijackers and the Captain (Carlo Kitzlinger) is badly wounded; Tobias is also hurt but manages to keep control of the aircraft and re-lock the cockpit door.

Thereafter the terrorists outside keep relentlessly pounding on the door demanding he open it, and Tobias must watch the monitor in horror as they threaten to harm the passengers and crew, which include his flight attendant girlfriend (Aylin Tezel), the mother of his young child. He tries desperately to diffuse the situation, but the standoff escalates. Eventually, Tobias ends up in a strange semi-alliance with the youngest and least committed of the hijackers (Omid Memar).

The feature debut of the young German writer-director Patrick Vollrath, 7500 (the title is apparently flight code for a hijack attempt) begins with a low-key, naturalistic atmosphere that is very convincing, and therefore intensely suspenseful. After the violence starts, the film becomes grueling, but it never feels exploitative, thanks to Gordon-Levitt's touching tour de force turn, as Tobias clamps down on his anger and terror for the sake of the lives depending on him. As with Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips, there isn't a moment in Gordon-Levitt's performance that says "action hero"; the movie is, rather, a portrait of what true, grown-up heroism looks like.

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