A Brief History
On June 18, 2020, American movie fans will get to see the new major motion picture, 7500, a film set aboard a German jet airliner that is attacked by passengers seeking to take over the airplane for terrorist purposes. The tension as gut-wrenching life and death decisions are made are sure to cause inner turmoil as movie watchers carry on inner debates with themselves as to what they would do in the various impossible situations that develop.
With a modest running time of 92 minutes, the film starts out routinely enough, taking a few minutes to develop the main characters among the crew of the jetliner. Directed by Patrick Volrath, a German movie maker Americans may not be familiar with, he has some awards to his credit as well as an Oscar (Academy Award) nomination in his resume (for Best Live Action Short Film) so his abilities are not surprisingly showcased in 7500. He manages to get the actors to be believable and evoke the empathy and sympathy of the audience. The star of the film is Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays an American pilot, Tobias Ellis, that is serving as co-pilot on the flight in question. His love interest is a flight attendant played by Aurélie Thépaut. Gordon-Levitt, of television and numerous movies, is the big name in the movie.
Without providing spoilers (we are loathe to spoil movies for you), we believe we can at least mention that the hijackers are portrayed as Islamic extremists that are carrying out an act of terror against the “West” because “they have killed so many Muslims.” Although some viewers may be insulted by the stereotypical Islamic hijackers, the sad fact is that most jetliner hijackers today are probably just that. The motivations and angst of the hijackers is also well portrayed, with convincing performances by the actors. Not only do you feel the pain and anxiety of the passengers and crew, you also get a strong sense of the conflict involved in taking the drastic step of hijacking an airliner. The film has a somber, realistic aura and none of the glitzy super-hero shenanigans found in other hijack movies such as Passenger 57 (1992), Air Force One (1997), the Turbulence movies (1997, 1999, 2001), or the ever silly Snakes on a Plane (2006). No silliness, no inside jokes or funny references, no sight gags, just pure terror and tension.
The movie goer will find himself/herself asking at least a few times, “What would I do in that situation?” What if you were a passenger on an airliner when a hijacking went down? What would you do if you were a crew member? What is the “right” thing to do?
Critical reception of the film is as of yet quite limited, with no rating amassed by the rating composite site Rotten Tomatoes, so we will have to just rate it ourselves! The “R” rated film easily holds your attention and despite a lack of flashy special effects or ultra-nifty sets, the fact that it is contained almost entirely within the cockpit of an airliner works as the writer/director wanted, creating a close, almost claustrophobic atmosphere that makes everything that happens feel intimate and personal. We strongly recommend the film for our adventure/drama movie fans among our readers and in this particular film, we also recommend against allowing pre-teens to watch the movie unless they are particularly well adjusted as there is certainly violence and death involved.
Question for students (and subscribers): What is your favorite airplane hijacking movie? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Baum, Phillip. Violence in the Skies: A History of Aircraft Hijacking and Bombing. Summersdale, 20178.
Koerner, Brendan. The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking. Broadway Books, 2014.
The featured image in this article is of a poster, and the copyright for it is most likely owned by either the publisher or the creator of the work depicted. It is believed that the use of scaled-down, low-resolution images of posters to provide critical commentary on the film, event, etc. in question or of the poster itself, not solely for illustration, qualifies as fair use under the copyright law of the United States.