When I browse Netflix to watch a movie, it often gets in the way of my personal desire to search for a movie. I have no idea what I’m looking for. I know it’s addictive enough to make me overlook the entertainment apps on my phone. But that doesn’t bother her too much, does it?
Oxygen, a French survival story in 2021, captivated me from the protagonist’s first tense breath. The film stars Melanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds, Now You See Me) as a woman trapped in a suffocating capsule with a lack of oxygen. Given Laurent’s central performance, stunning score, and multiple twists, I was completely immersed in his plight.
Oxygen stabilizes pressure from the start. The hero realizes that he is wrapped in a strange cloth and is lying on his back. It’s dark and a blinking red light illuminates her struggle to penetrate her strange second skin. She let out a breath.
Soon, the public knows a bit more about this blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman. She’s been locked in a cryogenic room and soon won’t be able to breathe. She also lacks almost any useful memory of who she was and how she ended up there.
He tells her about his horrific conditions, an AI called MILO (for “Medical Interface Communication Operator”), which gives off frustrating vibes like an automated phone menu (OK, Milo is stubborn about how to ask questions, but that helps her in some ways.) With/without Milo’s help She desperately searches for a way out of her predicament.
More discerning viewers might feel differently, but I started the movie dumbfounded as Laurent’s character was about what might be trapping her in that capsule. The answers come in huge fluctuations.
The mystery keeps viewers interested, as does the broad sci-fi score and blistering pace.
Then there is Lawrence. A movie about a woman stuck in a futuristic box needs a very convincing woman in that box. She felt horror, despair, and anger as she grappled with the prospect of a horrific death and other unfair aspects of her ordeal.
There are two things I didn’t like about this movie. For example, Laurent’s embattled character doesn’t try to calm down and stay alive (which, of course, is easy for a viewer in an armchair to get upset).
Throughout the movie, Laurent’s character sees fragments of memories that don’t seem to help him much after one scene near the end. And this scene is not ceremonial – she needs to find something in the present, and suddenly she remembers it from the past.
But these issues didn’t hinder the viewing experience much. Overall, Oxygen did the one thing I’d always want a movie to do but can’t convey with a Netflix search query: It held my undivided attention for an hour and a half. I will go back and do it again.
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