7500 – Review by Susan Granger

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Having been in quarantine for so many weeks, it’s easy to empathize with the cast and crew of this taut thriller, set almost entirely in the cramped cockpit of an Airbus A319.

As viewed through ominous security footage, the story begins in Berlin Airport as travelers are checking in for an evening flight to Paris. There’s a slight delay as two passengers who checked luggage are late to board.

Experienced German Captain Michael Lutzmann (former Lufthansa pilot-turned-actor Carlo Kitzlinger) and his bespectacled American co-pilot Tobias Ellis (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) go through the routine pre-flight checks, while a flight attendant, Gokee (Aylin Tezel), who turns out to be Tobias’ fiancée/mother of their young son, takes their dinner orders.

Shortly after take-off, as the plane reaches cruising altitude and the Fasten Seatbelt sign goes off, there’s thumping on the cockpit door. Islamist extremists are trying to take over control of the plane.

Armed with broken glass, wrapped in duct tape as improvised knives, their leader Kenan (Muruthan Muslu) pushes his way in, incapacitating Michael and severely wounding Tobias’ left arm. Once Kenan is subdued, Tobias radios ahead, arranging for an emergency landing in Hanover while watching a tiny black-and-white, closed-circuit monitor that shows what’s happening just beyond the cockpit door.

As the Muslim terrorists begin to threaten hostages, Kenan’s teenage accomplice, Vedat (Omid Memar), manages to get inside the cramped cockpit, where mild-mannered Tobias, sensing Vedat’s queasy vulnerability, tries to engage him in conversation.

Co-written with Senad Halilbasic and directed by Germany’s Patrick Vollrath, it’s frightening, filled with well-paced, stomach-churning tension. Cinematographer Sebastian Thaler and production designer Thorsten Sabel create gruesome believability; the grim realism is further enhanced by the absence of a musical score.

FYI: The title refers to the Air Traffic Control distress code for a plane being hijacked.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “7500” is an intensely suspenseful 7. You can bet that it won’t appear as a choice on your next flight’s entertainment roster

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.