7500

      No Comments on 7500

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Deutsch (German)

by Patrick Vollrath

grade: 7.5

7500 – the debut feature by young Patrick Vollrath – relies almost exclusively on action scenes that do not let themselves be constrained by the limited space available, as well as by a good script and, last but not least, the face of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, always on the piece and never over the top.

Flying to Paris

In aviation jargon, 7500 is the emergency code in case an aircraft is hijacked. From this, therefore, young director Patrick Vollrath took the title for his debut feature film, which was supposed to be part of the official selection of the Diagonale 2020, but was included in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished following the cancellation of the festival.

This feature film, a co-production between Austria and Germany, is immediately striking for its use of a single location, within which, however, unfolds a story perfectly capable of thrilling the audience from beginning to end, thanks above all to the impeccable screenplay by Vollrath himself together with Senad Halilbasic, and which echoes the approach of the director’s previous short film, Everything will be OK, nominated for an Oscar as Best Live Action Short Film in 2016.

Playing the lead role is an always impressive Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He lends his face to Tobias, an airline pilot who, together with his colleague (played by former Lufthansa pilot Carlo Kitzlinger), is about to take off on an evening flight along the Berlin-Paris route. Everything initially seems to be going well, until, a few minutes after take-off, the cockpit is attacked by three terrorists who, in an attempt to hijack the plane, attack the two pilots by hitting them with glass splinters and take several passengers hostage, including Tobias’s own wife, who works as a stewardess.

Everything, then, takes place inside the cockpit. And only rarely – thanks to a monitor connected to the inside of the cabin – we can see what goes on inside the plane. But the camera – here expertly handled by cameraman Sebastian Thaler – stays exclusively inside the cabin where the two pilots are, occasionally with the terrorists. And so, 7500 relies almost exclusively on action scenes that do not let themselves be constrained by the limited space available, as well as by a good script and, last but not least, the face of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, always on the piece and never over the top.

And immediately, we are reminded of the successful feature film Locke, directed in 2013 by Steven Knight, which also took place in a single location – in this case a car – and with a single actor (the excellent Tom Hardy) who, throughout the film, made several phone calls, through which the entire story was set.

It is by no means easy, then, for such a film to work. Especially not if, as in the case of 7500, it is an action film. Yet young Patrick Vollrath knows his stuff. And with this feature film, he has focused mainly on the emotions of the characters, with a good, deep psychological analyses. All this is staged on two levels: the first concerning what happens inside the cockpit itself, the true focus of the story, the second concerning the monitor through which pilots and terrorists can observe the inside of the plane and what happens, from time to time, to all the passengers. And here, a touch of meta-cinema also peeps into this interesting first work by Vollrath, skilfully exploiting the act of watching with all its potential, in a subtle and exhausting role play in which one never knows who will have the upper hand and after which one does not really know who are the losers and who the winners.

With a glimpse at Hollywood cinema, then, 7500 – made, of necessity, with a rather limited budget – sees a successful crescendo of suspense and knows perfectly which emotions to touch in order to move the audience in the most contrasting ways. And so, young Patrick Vollrath proves to be, or rather, confirms himself as one of the names to keep an eye on within German and Austrian cinema. A talent that could soon also be called upon to be part of glorious Hollywood.

Original title: 7500
Directed by: Patrick Vollrath
Country/year: Austria, Germany / 2019
Running time: 92’
Genre: action, drama
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Omid Memar, Aylin Tezel, Carlo Kitzlinger, Murathan Muslu, Paul Wollin, Aurélie Thépaut
Screenplay: Patrick Vollrath, Senad Halilbasic
Cinematography: Sebastian Thaler
Produced by: Augenschein Filmproduktion, Novotny&Novotny Filmproduktion

Info: the page of 7500 on the website of the Diagonale; the page of 7500 on iMDb