Directed by: Alexandre Aja.
Starring Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi, Marc Saez, Vincent Maraval, Brahim Chioua, Noémie Devide, Grégory Levasseur, Lyah Valade, Pascal Germain, Marie Lemiale, Laura Boujenah, Cathy Cerda and Éric Herson-Macarel.
The woman wakes up in a cryogenic chamber not remembering how she got there, and she has to find a way before the air runs out.
As soon as the recognizable Netflix logo and associated sound bite disappear, the next screen Oxygen shows a rat wandering around that is revealed to be a maze when the camera turns back. It’s such a random visual that I assumed it would become an extra logo, this company manager Alexandre Aja (Crawling, one of his most recent works, which gives a good idea of what to expect here, although this is more ambitious), may join in and decide to take a look at my last – minute emails before removing any distractions. Within those five seconds, I returned to look Oxygen plastered over the screen; apparently the rat maze has something to do with its mystery.
From there, the setting changes to a cryogenic pod where Mélanie Laurent’s Elizabeth Hansen (I’m not even going to bother revealing the smallest details of the character, as most of the enjoyment of the film comes from every discovery no matter how simple or game-playing). He also happens to cover his head toes with an organic casing, which he eventually tears from the inside. In addition, he has an IV hook, a brain device that monitors his brain function, and memory loss. His only way to get to the bottom of events is to interact with MILO (expressed by Mathieu Amalric), a kind of medical bay version of Siri that can access any kind of information as long as it’s not restricted. Time is also necessary given that critical parts of pay have malfunctioned when oxygen is running out between 45 and 72 minutes (more or less, in real time and depending on how Elizabeth empties herself).
Getting clean, Oxygen is one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever had to write about my nearly a decade of experience to date, mainly because of Christie LeBlanc’s screenplay (which makes her debut as a screenwriter for a long time) lives and dies in revelations and twists and turns. Fortunately, there are quite a few genuinely surprising announcements here (one of which relates to an enchanting film series that loops beautifully back into Elizabeth’s eye). We also learn from this land description, which is fascinating but has never been studied, as if it existed only to keep the logic of this thriller intact.
Determined to interfere in the minds of the audience, especially Elizabeth, Oxygen brings to the fore the possibility that some of the events may be psychotic hallucinations due to prolonged isolation. By acknowledging this and then along a certain route, the mystery perspective becomes more complex, even though the story never comes together to achieve the desired emotional impact. The situation forces Elizabeth to use MILO’s limited functions to gather information about her own identity and to confirm and decipher certain things she sees and hears (she can call and connect with a few bystanders, including a police captain within the science and forensic department).
Similar experiences have been developed recently (Buried With Ryan Reynolds comes to mind the most direct parallelism), so it’s not necessarily a new concept, but apparently always challenging to succeed. Man’s ambition is the theme of eternal love (trust me, it’s still intentionally vague to keep it a secret), which Alexandre Aja strives for. While Melanie Laurent’s stressed and horrified claustrophobic performance never resonates dramatically, it ultimately elevates a series of escalating revelations of privacy and scope. This scope may be a little too broad, however Oxygen still takes a good amount of breath.
Flickering myth rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also a Flickering Myth review editor. Check here For new reviews, follow mine Twitter or Letterboxdor send an email to MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com