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Reviews For The Uneasily Quarantined:

Title: 7500

Describe This Movie In One Airplane! Quote:

ELAINE: Ladies and gentlemen, this is your stewardess speaking. We regret any inconvenience the sudden cabin movement might have caused, this is due to periodic air pockets we encountered, there's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you enjoy the rest of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?

Brief Plot Synopsis:
 A pilot's cockpit is his castle.

Rating Using Random Objects Relevant To The Film: 2.5 "Hearts of Glass" out of 5.

Tagline: "The distress code is only the beginning."

Better Tagline: "I hear you knocking but you can't come in."

Not So Brief Plot Synopsis: American Tobias Ellis (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has a pretty good gig co-piloting a German airplane, with the added benefit that his girlfriend Gökce (Aylin Tezel) is a flight attendant on the same flight. Geopolitical realities intrude, however, in the form of terrorists who — although denied entry to the cockpit by Tobias and the plane's captain (Carlo Kitzlinger) — aren't about to give up.

"Critical" Analysis: The one-location movie, while technically impressive, is a difficult gimmick to pull off. Well-executed thrillers like Rear Window or Locke use the minimalist setting to heighten suspense. Other commendable entries (My Dinner with Andre) rely on a strong script and convincing performances. Absent either of those, you get, well, Devil.

Patrick Vollrath's 7500 lies somewhere in the middle. Setting the action wholly in a cockpit during an attempted hijacking definitely ramps up the tension, and Gordon-Levitt proves (mostly) capable of shouldering a lot of the film by himself. It's almost enough to carry it past hoary stereotypes and familiar narrative beats.

And for once, a movie's tagline is fairly accurate: the actual hijacking doesn't extend much past the second act, which thankfully precludes a United 93-style ending. Vollrath, best known previously for the Oscar-nominated short film Everything Will Be Okay, also belatedly introduces some humanity to his bad guys, but the end result falls short.

In retrospect, Hollywood (or in this case, MMC Studios Köln GmbH) have 9-11 to thank for giving them a steady fallback option for movie villains. But even if the precedent for suicidal, fundamentalist Islamic hijackers didn't exist, it's hard to swallow the concept that they'll ever be able to hijack an airliner with the equivalent of box cutters again.

Because according to 7500, even wine-sipping, Second Amendment-bereft Europeans will eventually rise to their own defense.

Can we also note that this is an interesting choice for JGL's return to the big screen? He's been mostly absent since 2016's Snowden (minus the occasional voice role), and while there's nothing inherently wrong with reemerging in a German production (and the director's debut feature at that), it's just ... interesting.

At a lean 92 minutes, 7500 doesn't stick around long enough either to make much of an impression or annoy you needlessly. Even if knowing what's coming uncomfortably stretches out even that crisp runtime. A handful of tense scenes are nonetheless unmoored by yet more Arab bogeymen and another predictable ending.

7500 is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar