Check out Amazon’s newest movie, 7500. In the cockpit of a commercial airliner about to depart Berlin for Paris, the plane’s soft-spoken young American co-pilot, Tobias, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, runs through the preflight checklist with the German pilot, Michael, played by Carlo Kitzlinger. Tobias’ flight-attendant girlfriend, Gökce, comes in to chat briefly with him about preschools for their son before preparing the passengers for takeoff.

But what starts out as a routine day on the job quickly turns into a life-or-death struggle when terrorists determined to take control of the plane forced their way into the cockpit. Armed with knives fashioned from broken glass, they stab Michael and slash Tobias’ arm. Amid the chaos, Tobias manages to subdue one of the hijackers and push another back into the cabin, locking the door behind him.

With Michael barely conscious, a terrified Tobias contacts air traffic control to arrange an emergency landing in Hanover. Infuriated, the terrorists in the cabin threaten to kill a passenger unless Tobias lets them back into the cockpit, which — following airline protocol — he refuses to do. But when the hijackers make good on their promise and then take a crew member hostage, this ordinary man’s resolve is put to an excruciating test.

Although Patrick Vollrath has produced and written a visceral, edge-of-your-seat thriller, he hopes once viewers’ heart-rates subside they will ponder the bigger questions the film poses. “Revenge is often the first urge when an unprovoked act of violence costs innocent lives,” he says. “To counter violence with violence is a very human reaction that cannot only be felt by individuals but by society as a whole. 7500 explores the dynamics of this vicious cycle and asks one of the toughest questions today: How can we break the circle of violence?”

Vollrath says part of the movie’s aim is to show that there are human faces behind the masks of the terrorists, faces that are as misguided and despairing as they are brutal and dangerous. “Very often it is the feeling of being ignored or neglected that makes people cross this point of no return and commit terrible deeds — deeds that destroy any sympathy people could have had for them.”

But, he says, as strong as the impulse for vengeance is, and as difficult as it is for victims and loved ones to turn the other cheek, in the end, revenge doesn’t fix anything. “As Gandhi is quoted as saying, ‘An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.’”

7500 premieres on Amazon on June 19th, 2020