Films with enclosed settings are often gripping. ‘Panic Room’ is a good example. The claustrophobia felt as the characters defended themselves against dangerous outsiders is one most would relate. ‘7500’ has some of those qualities in its airborne setting. People who aren’t fans of planes may find the story off-putting but it’s a consistently arresting essay on the unpredictability of human behaviour.

Tobias Ellis (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a co-pilot on a flight from Berlin to Paris. Shortly after a smooth take-off, he hears shouting from the passenger cabin. Listening to the bedlam from behind the cockpit door, he realises the plane has been hijacked by terrorists. Attempting to prevent them from storming into the cockpit, Tobias raises the 7500 emergency code as he prepares to grapple between life and death.

‘7500’ is filled with plenty of initial promise. The analytical manner in which Tobias undertakes his duties is interesting as is his resilience and resourcefulness in the face of adversity. The small ensemble cast quickly establish their thinly written characters amidst a backdrop of the film’s low budget but high intentions.

Up to the halfway point ‘7500’ soars. The tension swiftly increases as does Tobias’ personal and professional dilemmas. Patrick Vollrath’s direction makes effective use of the limited setting although the nerve jangling atmosphere gradually deflates. Towards the end it becomes slightly dull where it should be filled with moody foreboding. The focus on the pilot rather than the passengers offers a refreshing twist in the usual ‘plane in peril’ genre.

The first half of ‘7500’ is compelling viewing whereas the second half not so much ‘7500’ still provides Gordon-Levitt an opportunity to showcase his acting skills. It’s not a good advert for flying with the likelihood of it being shown on a plane’s viewing platform as miniscule as the film’s budget.

Rating out of 10: 6


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