The Joseph Gordon-Levitt Thriller That's Killing It On Amazon Prime

Some kids are just fun to watch grow up. Others, not so much — usually other people's kids, of course. Hollywood is infamous for running young human beings through the sausage-maker that is the movie business and when the cute is gone, so is the youngster's career. Sometimes that ends well enough — Shirley Temple, dimpled darling of the 1930s, ended up an ambassador — and sometimes it doesn't; Bobby Driscoll, the Oscar-winning voice of Disney's Peter Pan, died of an overdose in a New York drug den, unrecognized, at the ripe old age of 31.

So it's with a collective sigh of relief these last few years that the viewing public has watched Joseph Gordon-Levitt grow not only physically, but professionally. As he told Variety recently, he started acting at the age of six. He hit TV stardom with his comedic turn in Third Rock from the Sun, holding his own (as a teenager) with veterans like John Lithgow and Jane Curtin. Movies came next, and while that's no doubt the dream of many a youth, he's pretty realistic about the whole business. In 2009 he told Entertainment Weekly, "... most movie studios, the big decisions get made by accountants and lawyers. They don't get made by artists." Be that as it may, he's made his mark in a number of films that pleased both audiences and the critics: 10 Things I Hate About You, The Dark Knight Rises, (500) Days of Summer, and even a G.I. Joe action vehicle, 2009's Rise of Cobra.

Gordon-Levitt plays the co-pilot of a hijacked airliner

And then he took a break. For three years. To be with his kids. (All together now: "Aw...") That break ended with 7500, in which the still-boyish Gordon-Levitt plays the co-pilot of a plane being overtaken by terrorists. He told Variety, "this movie was the most challenging acting job I've ever done." This from a man who played an aerialist walking between the Twin Towers in The Walk.

The film takes its name from the emergency code used by pilots to signal that their airliner is being hijacked. Though low-budget, 7500 nevertheless delivers a story that's effectively intense and gripping. Director Patrick Vollrath packs an emotional honesty packed into the film's 92-minute run time. Writing for The Los Angeles Times, critic Kevin Crust says that the script "places you squarely in the gut-wrenching position of its protagonist." In Movie Nation, Roger Moore wrote, "Gordon-Levitt still gives us a master class in screen acting in close-ups, and does that in a thriller good enough to give us more pause before booking that next trip, after the pandemic." Which, when you think about it, is kind of a mixed blessing.

7500 is streaming on Amazon.