Film Review: <em> Oxygen </em>
May 24 2021

Film Review: Oxygen

By: David Vicari

Oxygen is an effectively intense science fiction thriller about a woman (Mélanie Laurent) waking up in a cryogenic chamber with no memory of who she is or how she got there—and she's running out of oxygen!

The entire movie is set in the cramped cryogenic chamber, so this is definitely not for the claustrophobic. Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) is the whole show here and she is incredibly good as a character attempting to keep herself calm in a traumatic situation while, at the same time, trying to unravel the mystery of her predicament.

There are some predictable revelations in Christine LeBlanc's screenplay, but it's still pretty clever. It's all elevated by the punchy direction by Alexandre Aja, who delivers the same intensity he did with the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes and the 2019 alligators-in-a-flooded-house chiller Crawl.

Oxygen is essentially a science fiction version of the 2010 thriller Buried, which stars Ryan Reynolds as a man who wakes up to find himself buried alive inside a coffin. Buried and Oxygen would actually make a great double feature.

Oxygen is streaming exclusively on Netflix. A word of note: this is a French language film and is best enjoyed in that original form. However, when you hit play, Netflix has decided to default to the hokey English language dub, so please go to settings and select French in the language category.

*** stars (out of four)

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